Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp described the Hillsborough verdicts as “a very, very big moment” for the families of the 96 supporters who died at the 1989 stadium disaster.
On Tuesday, a jury concluded by majority decision that the Liverpool fans fatally injured at the FA Cup semi-final against Nottingham Forest at Sheffield Wednesday’s home ground 27 years ago were unlawfully killed and not in any way to blame for the tragedy.
The Crown Prosecution Service confirmed that it will formally consider whether any criminal charges must now be brought against individuals and organisations deemed responsible for the disaster .
South Yorkshire Police suspended chief constable David Crompton on Wednesday, with the force’s police and crime commissioner Alan Billings citing an “erosion of public trust and confidence” as leaving him with no other choice.
Speaking ahead of Liverpool’s Europa League semi-final against Villarreal on Thursday, Klopp joined numerous voices across the football world and beyond in saluting a momentous verdict for his club and its city.
“It was a very, very big moment for all the families and I’m really pleased for them,” he said.
“I’m really happy for them that they finally got the justice they wanted.
“I’m really happy – 27 years is an unbelievably long time, but it shows all of us that if we fight for the truth, are patient enough to wait for the moment, then it can happen.”
Speaking after the jury returned its conclusions at the Hillsborough inquests in Warrington, Crompton released a statement in which he said South Yorkshire Police “failed the victims and failed their families”.
He added: “I want to apologise unreservedly to the families and all those affected.”
However, shadow home secretary Andy Burnham – a long-time campaigner for justice for the victims – called for the chief constable’s resignation in the House of Commons, describing his position as “untenable”.
In a statement confirming the subsequent action over Crompton, who was due to retire in November, Billings said: “Following the results of the verdicts, the continuing criticism that has been directed at the chief constable and the eroding trust and confidence in South Yorkshire Police, I have been left with no choice other than to suspend David from his duties.
“I’ve reached this decision with a heavy heart, following discussions with David both in the run up to and following the delivery of the Hillsborough verdicts.
“My decision is based on the erosion of public trust and confidence referenced in statements and comments in the House of Commons this lunchtime, along with public calls for the chief constable’s resignation from a number of quarters, including local MPs.”
Crompton’s suspension takes immediate effect, pending a legal process.