On the heels of the release of the Hillsborough Independent Panel report, which highlighted unsafe grounds, police misconduct, a quite nauseating coverup, and gross negligence on the part of several agencies, Labour Member of Parliament Andy Burnham chastised the English Football Association, saying that the FA “need to ask themselves some serious questions.”
Serious questions indeed they will be—but luckily (if that’s the right word) for everyone involved, the questions should not be difficult to answer. Why did the FA let the now infamous semi-final game to happen on grounds that were proven to be uncomfortable at best, and which did not have a valid safety certificate? The question is so silly it’s almost rhetorical. Burnham, who helped have the inquiry into the disaster reopened when he was a member of the Labour Cabinet in 2009, took a wild guess: “I don’t think there’s an answer that people can accept because I think it was because of negligence of people’s safety.”
He added: “I remember going to Hillsborough the year before and having one of the most distressing experiences of my life. All of these things were known about Hillsborough, how did nobody in football act upon them?”
Well the FA isn’t exactly in the business (operative word) of keeping people safe. The point is to generate revenue, no matter the consequences—and in this case, no matter the human cost. That it took more than 23 years for the Independent Panel report to be made public attests to the FA’s setting of priorities.
Will the FA take a long hard look in the mirror? Another silly question, sorry.