GUARDIAN – Hillsborough disaster: police chief apologises for ‘ill-judged’ email

South Yorkshire chief constable sent email to senior staff that appeared to suggest campaign group was not telling the full truthThe police watchdog has written to a chief constable expressing concern over comments in an email about the Hillsborough disaster that were “at best ill-judged and at worst offensive and upsetting”.South Yorkshire police’s chief constable, David Crompton, sent an email to his senior staff last year which appeared to suggest a campaign group representing families of those who died was not telling the full truth about the 1989 tragedy.The email read: “One thing is certain – the Hillsborough Campaign for Justice will be doing their version … in fact their version of certain events has become ‘the truth’ even though it isn’t!!”I just have the feeling that the media ‘machine’ favours the families and not us, so we need to be a bit more innovative in our response to have a fighting chance otherwise we will just be roadkill.”The internal email, which came to light following a freedom of information request, was sent as part of South Yorkshire police’s preparations for the publication of the Hillsborough Independent Panel report last year.It discussed how the force could use its website to respond to the findings of the panel.When the report was published, it provoked widespread condemnation of the force’s response to the disaster at Sheffield Wednesday’s ground in April 1989, which left 96 Liverpool fans dead.It revealed how dozens of police statements had been altered to portray police in a better light.South Yorkshire police’s response to the tragedy is currently subject to a huge inquiry by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC).Last month, the police and crime commissioner of South Yorkshire, Shaun Wright, wrote to the IPCC when he was made aware of the emails and associated documents.On Tuesday, IPCC commissioner Nicholas Long said the majority of the emails and documents “raised no issues”.But he said one email from the chief constable caused concern.He said: “It referred to preparing what ‘amounts to the case for the defence’ and stated that the ‘Hillsborough Campaign for Justice’s … version of certain events had become the truth even though it isn’t’.”I consider that this is at best ill-judged, and at worst offensive and upsetting. I have written to Chief Constable Crompton to express these views.”Families and individuals affected by the Hillsborough tragedy, along with the wider public, will rightly be concerned over the apparent attitude displayed by this communication within the highest ranks of the force which is currently under investigation in relation to the actions of its officers and staff around the disaster.”But Long said that while “these emails have serious implications for public confidence” they do not amount to recordable conduct and the IPCC does not require a formal referral.He said it was now a matter for Wright to deal with.Last week, Crompton said the email, sent to his assistant chief constable and head of press and communications, was not meant to cause offence.He said: “It was never intended to cause any offence and I apologise if it has done so.”Nor was it intended to challenge the integrity and views of those who lost loved ones in the Hillsborough disaster.”Following the publication of the panel’s report, I said in the most forthright terms that I supported the findings and that is still my position.”Wright said he was disappointed with the language used and had raised his concerns with Crompton.Last week he said: “I accept the chief constable’s regret for his language in this one particular email and his apology.”Hillsborough disasterLiverpoolPoliceguardian.co.uk © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

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GUARDIAN – Stewart Downing will have to fight for shirt says Brendan Rodgers

• Manager may consider offers for Downing in January • Liverpool players must have commitment, Rodgers saysBrendan Rodgers has questioned whether Stewart Downing has the necessary “fight” for a Liverpool team that he believes can qualify for the Champions League.The England international has been a major disappointment at Anfield since his £20m arrival from Aston Villa 14 months ago and his fortunes have deteriorated since Rodgers replaced Kenny Dalglish as manager. Downing has seen 17-year-old Raheem Sterling and summer signing Fabio Borini preferred ahead of him this season, and Rodgers has suggested the 28-year-old may have to reinvent himself as a left-back to enhance his prospects at Liverpool.Rodgers did not disguise his frustration with Downing during the Europa League game against Young Boys in Berne last week. Now, after the winger again failed to impress in the Capital One Cup win over West Bromwich Albion in midweek, the Liverpool manager has suggested he may consider offers for Downing in January unless the player’s commitment improves.”Stewart is a good guy and a good lad who came here for an awful lot of money,” said Rodgers, who is likely to be without Borini at Norwich Cityon Saturday due to an ankle injury. “It hasn’t quite worked out for him as he would want it. The big challenge for him now is that commitment to the cause to fight, because he has the qualities. He has a wonderful left foot but what is important is that it is more than talent. Talent alone is not enough. You have to work hard, you have to fight for the shirt. We have seen that in a number of the young players and if you don’t do that then longer-term you won’t be here. It is as simple as that really.”The Liverpool manager’s threat also applies to José Enrique, who made an encouraging start to his Anfield career after a £6m move from Newcastle United but has struggled since the turn of the year.Rodgers added: “What is important is that you have good communication. I don’t waste my time waiting until January to tell both players what I know now. So they know in relation to the demands of what we want and certainly what it is going to take for us to succeed and for them to fit into the dynamics of the group.”We are coaches, not magicians. For me football players are no different to plumbers, joiners or bricklayers. They are self-employed and us as medics, coaches and managers are the tools that help them to be better. We will give them everything to help them to be better, but if they don’t want to show that self-motivation, and if you haven’t got that desire and hunger to succeed, then it can be very difficult for you. The communication I will keep private between Stewart and I, but he is under no illusions that he has to fight.”Liverpool have yet to win in the Premier League under Rodgers but, after a testing run of fixtures, the Northern Irishman denies the trip to Carrow Road represents a fresh start for his side. He also claimed that a top four finish is not beyond Liverpool providing they keep in touch with the leading pack until the transfer window reopens in January.Rodgers said: “My job started the day I walked into the club. There is no doubt it was a difficult batch of fixtures to start with and our three home games were always going to be difficult. But there are 99 points to play for. I believe that 70-plus points will allow you to arrive in the top four. So that gives us 68 points that we need over the remaining games. We can maybe have 10 games with problems.”There’s absolutely no doubt it’s going to be a monumental achievement for that [Champions League qualification] to happen but in my working life my mentality – and I’m selling that to the players– is that it is what we have to work towards. You aim to win the league and if you can’t do that then you aim to finish as high as you possibly can. Get through to January and we will get better over the second half of the season as well.”Rodgers, who may have Daniel Agger available at Norwich despite the defender being carried off with a knee injury against Manchester United on Sunday, has confirmed Liverpool are looking to extend Suso’s contract. The Spanish midfielder is the final year of his deal.LiverpoolAndy Hunterguardian.co.uk © 2012 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

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