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Luton 1-1 Liverpool: Hatters threaten to ban fans over tragedy chanting during Premier League match

Luton 1-1 Liverpool: Hatters threaten to ban fans over tragedy chanting during Premier League match

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp watches Luton Town warm up before the Premier League match at Kenilworth Road
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp joined Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag in calling for an end to tragedy chanting in March

Luton Town have threatened to ban any fans found to have taken part in tragedy chanting during Sunday’s 1-1 draw with Liverpool.

The Hatters have launched an internal investigation after chants which indirectly referenced the Hillsborough disaster were heard during the match.

Luton “wholeheartedly” apologised to anyone offended by the chants, adding they are “extremely disappointed”.

The FA is “seeking observations” from Luton and “further detail” from police.

“The club condemns any kind of chanting that knowingly seeks to divide, and our safety and security team launched an internal investigation at the earliest opportunity,” the Hatters said in a statement.

“What has quickly become evident is that a number of people may have taken part without knowledge that the words used were in relation to the Hillsborough and Heysel tragedies, and we see the route to persuading supporters not to repeat these chants in future is through communication and education.

“On this basis we are reviewing CCTV and media footage from the match, and will speak to witnesses to identify individuals who may have taken part. Any perpetrators could face stadium bans and potential criminal prosecutions.”

It added: “On behalf of all at Luton Town, we would like to wholeheartedly apologise to anyone offended by the chants heard during yesterday’s match, and will continue to work with supporter groups to educate fans on chants that are classed as tragedy abuse by football authorities, the police and CPS.”

The Premier League condemned the chanting, adding in a statement: “We continue to treat this as an unacceptable issue and are committed to addressing it as a priority. Those found guilty of tragedy-related abuse face an automatic club ban and will be referred to the police.”

Earlier on Monday, the FA said it is also seeking “further detail from the police”, while BBC Sport understands Bedfordshire Police are talking to the club.

Meanwhile, Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp said anyone involved in tragedy chanting “should be ashamed of themselves”.

Ex-Reds defender Jamie Carragher was commentating on the game for Sky Sports and referenced the chanting during play, saying: “At the start of the season I was involved in something with supporters coming together about tragedy chanting.

“I’ve just heard that a couple of times in this game. As supporters, you’ve got to have rivalry, there is no doubt. But we’re better than that.

“It’s happened two or three times in the game. All clubs have been guilty of that over the years at different times. But the world we live in right now, I think we’re better than that.”

Klopp, who said he did not hear the chants himself, commented: “Shame on everyone who said it.”

Klopp has previously spoken out against tragedy chanting between rival supporters, and in July the Football Association issued a new charter outlining rules for dealing with the problem.

The introduction of the charter followed the arrest of a Manchester United supporter at last season’s FA Cup final for wearing a shirt which mocked the victims of Hillsborough.

The Football Supporters’ Association (FSA) said the chants heard during the second half of the Premier League draw at Kenilworth Road are “totally unacceptable”.

“Tragedy chanting reared its head again yesterday,” the FSA said on Monday. “Just because something horrible was chanted in the past, it doesn’t give anyone a free pass to sing something horrible years later. Let’s all draw a line in the sand.”

Liverpool earned a dramatic point five minutes into added time when substitute Luis Diaz cancelled out Tahith Chong’s 80th-minute goal for Luton.

The Premier League meeting was the first between the two sides since an FA Cup replay at Anfield in January 2008.

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