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04th Jun 2023

Man charged over ’97 not enough’ football shirt at FA Cup final

Charlie Herbert

He was arrested at the final

A man has been charged for wearing a football shirt at the FA Cup final which allegedly referenced the Hillsborough disaster.

James White, 33, was arrested at the FA Cup final on Saturday for wearing a Manchester United shirt with ‘NOT ENOUGH 97’ on the back.

He has since been charged with displaying threatening or abusive writing likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress.

White has been bailed to appear at Willesden Magistrates’ Court on Monday 19 June.

The shirt was alleged to be a reference to the Hillsborough tragedy in 1989 when 97 Liverpool fans died as a result of a crush at a FA Cup semi final between the Reds and Nottingham Forest at Hillsborough Stadium in Sheffield.

In addition to the charges, police warned: “There should be no reporting, commentary or sharing of information online which could in any way prejudice these proceedings.”

On Sunday, the FA said in a statement: “The FA strongly condemns the actions of the individual who wore a shirt referencing the Hillsborough disaster ahead of the Emirates FA Cup Final at Wembley Stadium.

“We saw a photograph of the offensive shirt on social media and immediately started working to identify the perpetrator.

“Our security team were able to quickly locate the individual based on the image, and we welcome the swift action which was then taken by the police.

“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.”

In their own statement, the the Hillsborough Survivors Support Alliance (HSA) labelled the shirt “despicable.”

They said: “On Saturday 3rd June 2023, the first ever all Manchester cup final took place at Wembley between Manchester City and Manchester United.

“It was the opportunity for Manchester as a city to show itself in its best light but unfortunately this was marred by a so-called Manchester United fan wearing an away shirt that mocked the deaths of the 97 unlawfully killed at Hillsborough, the families and the survivors of the tragedy that took place on April 15th 1989.”

The HSA continued: “On the back of the shirt was the number 97 and above that, where players names are normally displayed, where the words Not Enough.”

The group labelled the man’s behaviour “despicable” and thanked the Met, the FA and staff at Wembley for their “swift action and arrest” of the man.

They added that the shirt sent an “abhorrent message targeting family members and survivors of the Hillsborough disaster back in 1989.”

“Let’s hope the justice system can be as swift with the appropriate punishment for this act of hatred,” the HSA concluded.

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