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European Soccer Chief Retracts Harsh Words in Stadium Deaths

April 18, 1989|From Associated Press

LONDON — The head of European soccer today apologized for saying spectators at the Sheffield disaster in which 95 Liverpool fans died had acted like beasts.

Within hours of a high-ranking British government official urging him to retract the remark made in an interview on French television, UEFA President Jacques Georges sent a message to the English Football Assn. in which he said, "Perhaps my words were too harsh."

In the French interview, Georges said fans at Saturday's match in Hillsborough Stadium behaved "like beasts" and said their conduct would jeopardize the chances of English clubs being allowed back into the three major European competitions.

"It is with pain that I have read the comments by the English authorities and press on the interview requested of me yesterday," said Georges in the letter to Bert Millichip, chairman of the English Football Assn.

"I would like you to know that your bereavement is the same as mine, and that I feel for you as well as for all of English football," Georges wrote, explaining he had been "so happy" about UEFA's decision last week to readmit the English clubs next year under certain conditions.

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