LONDON – London police said that a soccer fan was charged Sunday with wearing an offensive jersey to the FA Cup final that apparently referred to the 1989 Hillsborough Stadium disaster where 97 Liverpool fans died.
James White, 33, of Warwickshire, will appear in court June 19 on a charge of displaying threatening or abusive writing likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress.
A photo retweeted by police after Saturday’s match between Manchester City and Manchester United at Wembley Stadium showed a man wearing a United shirt that had the number 97 on the back and the words “Not Enough.”
The Football Association said that it spotted the offensive shirt on social media and security tracked down the man wearing it, leading to his arrest.
“We will not tolerate abuse relating to Hillsborough or any football tragedy at Wembley Stadium and we will continue to work with the authorities to ensure strong action is taken against perpetrators,” the FA said.
The tragedy at Hillsborough Stadium in Sheffield, a city in northern England, occurred during an FA Cup semifinal match between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest when thousands of Liverpool fans flooded a standing-room section behind a goal in the overcrowded arena. Victims were crushed against metal fences, trampled or suffocated in the U.K.’s worst sports disaster.
Fans were blamed for years for the disaster, but after an initial inquest concluded that it was an accident, a subsequent inquiry in 2016 blamed failures on police, the ambulance service, and the Sheffield Wednesday team that plays at the stadium.
The Hillsborough tragedy and other disasters in the sport continue to echo in soccer stadiums for the wrong reasons in what the Premier League has condemned as “tragedy chanting."
Two months ago, Chelsea apologized for its fans who taunted Liverpool visitors in chants that referred to Hillsborough. A few days earlier, City had apologized to Liverpool for similar hateful choruses of cheers.
In March, Liverpool and United jointly appealed to fans to end hateful chants before their match in Liverpool.
United lost the FA Cup final on Saturday 2-1 to City.
More than 20 people were arrested at the match for assault, drug possession and drunk and disorderly behavior, police said.