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Apr 10, 2013

Rodgers backs Hillsborough tribute

Brendan Rodgers has declared that paying respect to the victims of the Hillsborough disaster is the only reason for holding a minute's silence when Liverpool visit Reading on Saturday.

The Royals confirmed on Wednesday there would be a silence to mark the 24th anniversary of the tragedy, in which 96 Liverpool fans died.

On Tuesday, Reading chairman John Madejski called for a similar gesture at grounds around the country to pay tribute to former UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, who died on Monday aged 87.

But former sports minister Richard Caborn has already warned that any attempts to hold a minute's silence at matches this weekend in memory of Baroness Thatcher, who was the UK's Conservative Prime Minister between 1979 and 1990, would backfire.

And Margaret Aspinall, chair of the Hillsborough Families Support Group, said that any silence in the former Prime Minister's honour would be "a disgrace and an insult to all fans".

Asked about there being a minute's silence at the Madejski Stadium on Saturday to remember the Hillsborough victims, Rodgers said: "I think it's the only minute's silence that there should be. We're remembering 96 people who died at a football game.

"The families have suffered for many, many years, and have only got some sort of justice in the last year. I think that's the only remembrance there can be at the game on Saturday.

"And I'm sure that Reading's supporters, who are very knowledgeable, will take the opportunity to show their respect for the families.

"The families have campaigned for many years. Lots of clubs around the country have shown great support, wherever we've travelled, and this will be Reading's opportunity to show their support for the families and those 96 fans who are no longer here. For me, that is our only remembrance at the game on Saturday."

The Premier League, Football League and Football Association have indicated that they will leave it to individual clubs to decide whether they wish to hold a minute's silence for Baroness Thatcher.

But Caborn, who served as a Labour Minister for Sport between 2001 and 2007, told the Press Association: "In many places, especially in the north, Margaret Thatcher has not been forgiven for what she did to industry, to the miners and their communities which suffered immensely under her.

"To then ask for a minute's silence at a game of football is the wrong thing to do. I think the FA and Premier League have acted pragmatically and correctly.

"It's a pragmatic decision. They could not control the fans if they decided not to respect the minute's silence, as would almost certainly happen at some grounds."

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