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UEFA eager to help Liverpool

Updated: Monday, 16 Mar 2009 14:35

A floral tribute at the Shankly Gates at Anfield in the aftermath of the tragedy
A floral tribute at the Shankly Gates at Anfield in the aftermath of the tragedy

Michel Platini has promised Liverpool that UEFA are keen to avoid forcing the club to play the second leg of their Champions League quarter-final on the 20th anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster.

The anniversary falls on 15 April, which is one of the two dates set aside for the second legs of the quarter-finals, the other being the previous day.

UEFA president Platini has not guaranteed Liverpool will not be asked to play on April 15 but pledged that European's governing body would 'do our utmost' to avoid the scenario.

UEFA today issued a statement reacting to reports claiming they had rejected an appeal by Liverpool to avoid playing on the anniversary date.

Platini said: 'We are aware of the huge significance of the 15 April date for both Liverpool FC and their fans, and that is why we will do our utmost to make sure that the club does not have to play its UEFA Champions League second leg quarter-final match on that day.

'I have been in regular correspondence with Liverpool FC on this matter for some time now and fully sympathise with the club's feelings as to the importance of respecting the date of 15 April for those who lost their lives at Hillsborough.

'This being the 20th anniversary of that tragic disaster in 1989 makes it even more relevant and we will take this into account.
Ninety six people died when Liverpool supporters were crushed at the Leppings Lane end of Hillsborough on 15 April, 1989, as they attended their team's FA Cup semi-final against Nottingham Forest.

A cousin of Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard was among the dead, and the England midfielder has urged UEFA to be sympathetic to the club.

Gerrard said at the weekend: 'We're still waiting to see whether UEFA will make us play on the day. That would be far from ideal given all the emotion that always surrounds the club on that day.'

The Champions League quarter-final draw takes place on Friday next.

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