In a joint statement, Liverpool and Manchester United managers Jurgen Klopp and Erik ten Hag asked fans to stop “tragedy chanting.” Sunday, the two teams will play at Anfield. Ten Hag said that their rivalry is “one of the best in world football.” It has been sometimes ruined by fans of the other team chanting about the Munich air disaster, the Heysel tragedy, and the Hillsborough disaster. But Klopp told the fans of Liverpool to “keep the passion and lose the poison.”
Jurgen Klopp & Erik ten Hag demand end to “tragedy chanting”
In November, the Football Association said it was worried about the rise of “abhorrent chants” about the Hillsborough disaster. For example, fans of Manchester City and Manchester United chanted about the disaster when they went to Anfield last year. At the time, the Premier League said that it is “taking the issue of tragedy chanting very seriously.”
Before this weekend’s game at Liverpool, Ten Hag said, “We all love the passion of the fans when our teams play each other. But there are lines that shouldn’t be crossed.” In February 1958, a charter plane crashed in Munich, killing 23 people. Eight Manchester United players and three officials were among those who died.
In 1985, 39 fans died in a crush against a wall that fell before the European Cup final between Liverpool and Juventus at Heysel Stadium in Brussels. In 1989, 97 fans died in a crush on the terraces at Hillsborough when Liverpool played Nottingham Forest in an FA Cup semi-final.
Ten Hag added: “It is unacceptable to use the loss of life – in relation to any tragedy – to score points, and it is time for it to stop.”
“Those responsible tarnish not only the reputation of our clubs but also, importantly, the reputation of themselves, the fans, and our great cities.”
“When the rivalry becomes too intense it can go to places that are not good for anyone. And we do not need this,” Klopp added.
“We do want the noise, we do want the occasion to be partisan. We do want the atmosphere to be electric. What we do not want is anything that goes beyond this. And this applies especially to the kind of chants that have no place in football.
“If we can keep the passion and lose the poison, it will be so much better for everyone.”