Premier League launch tragedy abuse programme with Hillsborough campaigner Margaret Aspinall

  • Premier League promotional video for new online programme with Margaret Aspinall

Former Hillsborough Family Support Group chair Margaret Aspinall has teamed up with the Premier League to teach school children about the consequences of abusive chanting at football games.

Aspinall, whose 18-year-old son James was one of the 97 people who lost their lives at the Hillsborough disaster in April 1989, has participated in a video to explain the hurt caused by tragedy chanting and urge people to report any incidents.

An in-classroom lesson is available to more than 18,000 primary schools and 60,000 teachers in England and Wales to show children the significant distress such abuse creates.

The Hillsborough memorial Credit: PA Images

In the video, Aspinall says: "Football brings so much joy to so many people all over the world, but there is no need for people to be chanting in the way they do.

"The pain it causes is unbearable. We do not deserve to hear these chants.

"If you hear that chanting, go to a steward, report it as, through the proper authorities, you can change things. Anything that offends or hurts anybody is never acceptable."

The video has been made available as part of the Premier League Primary Stars programme.

The announcement for the programme came in the aftermath of the Premier League match between Luton and Liverpool on Sunday 5 November, when Hatters fans could be heard shouting tragedy chants.

The Football Association asked Luton and Bedfordshire Police for their observations after taunts indirectly referencing the Hillsborough disaster were heard during the 1-1 draw.

In a statement on their website, Luton FC said: "The Club condemns any kind of chanting that knowingly seeks to divide, and our safety and security team launched an internal investigation at the earliest opportunity.

"On behalf of all at Luton Town, we would like to wholeheartedly apologise to anyone offended by the chants heard during yesterday’s match, and will continue to work with supporter groups to educate fans on chants that are classed as tragedy abuse by football authorities, the police and CPS."

Liverpool FC said: "Liverpool Football Club condemns any and all form of tragedy abuse in the strongest possible terms.

"We are committed to continuing to work with the relevant authorities, stakeholders and other clubs to eradicate it from our game."

Victims of the Hillsborough disaster

The Premier League said: "The Premier League strongly condemns all forms of football tragedy abuse and is appalled by the chanting heard at Sunday’s match between Luton and Liverpool," the organisation said in a statement.

"It causes distress to the victims’ families and other supporters. We, alongside clubs, the FA and EFL (English Football League) are working together to address it as a priority.

"This video will feature in new education resources being launched to help children understand the impact of such abuse.

"The game's authorities alongside law enforcement are committed to taking action against those responsible. If you see or hear any offensive behaviour, report it."

Former Prime Minister Theresa May spoke exclusively to ITV Granada Reports about the lessons which had, and had not, been learnt from the Hillsborough Disaster