A football fan has criticised Sports Direct after one of its stores refused to print a tribute to the victims of the Hillsborough tragedy on his Liverpool shirt – in case it caused offence.
Passionate Liverpool supporter Nicholas Bieber, 18, wanted to pay tribute to the lives lost in the 1989 disaster by having ‘Justice 96’ on the back of his jersey.
But he was stunned to be told by staff at the Northampton branch of the sports retail giant that they could not do so – in case it upset other people.
The life-long Liverpool supporter, from Northampton, said: “The staff said they couldn’t print it because it might cause offence to other people.
“I was shocked and I am very angry.
“It’s something I want to support and show my affection for.
“I’m very frustrated. A national sports outlet should employ people with common sense. I don’t think it could offend anyone.
“There’s a big difference between causing offence and supporting a worthy cause.
“In light of what has emerged recently there’s not a decent person in Britain that would not want justice for those who lost their lives on that day.”
Nicholas tweeted former Liverpool legend Robbie Fowler about his plight last Saturday, saying “Just got refused by Sports Direct to have the name & number ‘Justice 96’ printed on the back of my #LFC shirt! #disgrace”.
Fowler retweeted Mr Bieber’s post and several followers replied to the tweets.
Sports Direct were not available to comment on the matter.
However in 2009 the store ruled only to allow the printing of current football players names and numbers on football shirts after a Manchester United fan had a shirt printed mocking the Hillsborough disaster.
The company were forced to issue a public apology after the fan paid £55 for a shirt on which the figure 96 was printed and below that the slogan ‘Not Enough’.
The sportswear company immediately changed its printing policy after the fan who bought the shirt posted images of it on Facebook.