Steven Gerrard issues Hillsborough statement

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Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard has issued a statement praising the "courage and dignity" of the families and survivors of the Hillsborough disaster.

Gerrard's 10-year-old cousin Jon-Paul Gilhooley was the youngest of the 96 Liverpool supporters crushed to death at Hillsborough stadium in Sheffield on April 15, 1989.

And the Reds and England skipper has said since that the memory of his late cousin is one of his biggest inspirations driving him on to become the player he is today.

Gerrard released a statement on the website following the report published by the Independent Hillsborough Panel today.

In his statement, Gerrard said: "The courage and dignity shown by the Hillsborough families and survivors is an example to all of us.

"For 23 years they have fought for truth and justice on behalf of the victims and survivors of this terrible tragedy and all Liverpool supporters.

"Victims and survivors suffered not just on April 15, 1989 in Sheffield, but for over two decades afterwards with the shameful slandering of their actions by people who abused their position and power.

"Speaking as someone whose family directly suffered, I know the pain and hurt will remain.

"However, I hope that today's report helps bring some comfort, now that everyone knows what happened on that day."

The panel's report published today concluded that Liverpool fans did not cause the crush which led to the death of 96 supporters. Instead, the report identified police and emergency services' failures, and revealed a subsequent cover up by the authorities to remove criticisms of their actions on that day 23 years ago. 

Liverpool FC also published an official statement on their website, and club chairman Tom Werner paid tribute to the families who fought for justice.

Tom Werner, chairman, Liverpool Football Club, said: "On behalf of myself, John and everyone at the club, I would like to extend our thoughts and prayers on this hugely significant and deeply emotional day to everyone affected by the Hillsborough disaster. Today the world has heard the real truth about what happened at Hillsborough." 

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Steven Gerrard
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