Date
28 May 2017
Peter Mathieson (left) says sorry after Steve Parry found his Hillsborough reference distasteful. Photos: HKEJ, Facebook/Steve Parry
Peter Mathieson (left) says sorry after Steve Parry found his Hillsborough reference distasteful. Photos: HKEJ, Facebook/Steve Parry

Mathieson apologizes to football fans for Hillsborough reference

University of Hong Kong vice chancellor Peter Mathieson has apologized to football fans for making reference to the 1989 Hillsborough disaster in describing the recent student protest against HKU Council chairman Arthur Li Kwok-cheung on the campus, according to Steve Parry’s posts on social media.

In an email to Steve Parry, chairman of Liverpool FC Supporters Hong Kong, Mathieson said he was not trying to be unsympathetic or offensive to football fans when he used the comparison in a message to Civic Party chairperson Audrey Eu Yuet-mee. He said he apologized if his reference to Hillsborough offended anyone.

Parry had written to Mathieson to say that the student protest at HKU and the Hillsborough stampede have nothing in common and he was very much upset by his remarks.

Parry went on to suggest that “using the tragedy for your political gain is rather distasteful and somewhat desperate”.

Mathieson explained that he came to think of the Hillsborough tragedy when he was trapped in the middle of a large crowd and sensed danger, and he was worried there could be injury or loss of life.

The vice chancellor insisted he was not trying to attribute blame, but added that people like Civic Party’s Eu were.

The Hillsborough disaster killed 96 Liverpool fans and injured hundreds of others at an FA Cup semi-final match between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest at Hillsborough Stadium in Sheffield, England, on April 15, 1989.

The tragedy was classified as an accident after initial police investigations attributed the blame to non-ticket holders forcing their way into the stadium and bad behavior among drunk fans.

An independent panel formed by the British government in 2010 concluded that Liverpool fans were not responsible for the deaths and that attempts had been made by the authorities to conceal what happened, including the alteration by police of 164 statements relating to the disaster.

The panel also found that at least 41 people died from delayed treatment and most of the fans were not drunk.

The capacity of the section of the stadium where the disaster took place was 2,200, but about 3,000 were allowed to get in.

Mathieson slammed for comments on HKU student protest (Feb. 1, 2016)

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