FA Cup

Nottingham Forest to keep 97 seats empty in memory of Hillsborough disaster victims

Toby Cudworth
Nottingham Forest host Liverpool in the FA Cup quarter-final
Nottingham Forest host Liverpool in the FA Cup quarter-final / Laurence Griffiths/GettyImages

Nottingham Forest have confirmed 97 seats will be left empty for Sunday's FA Cup quarter-final tie with Liverpool in memory of those who died in the Hillsborough disaster.

What should have been a fantastic day out for supporters of both clubs in 1989 turned into Britain's biggest sporting disaster and one of football's darkest hours - one which saw 97 people unlawfully killed and over 700 injured after a series of police failings led to significant overcrowding.

The two clubs meet again in the 2022 edition of the competition, with Forest looking to add Liverpool to the list of Premier League clubs they have ousted from this season's competition; Arsenal and Leicester have already been seen off at the City Ground.

Although a place in the semi-finals at Wembley is at stake, the game holds added significance because it is the first time Forest and Liverpool have met in the FA Cup since that April day in 1989 - indeed it's the first meeting between the two sides in any competition in the 21st century.

Representatives of the Nottingham Forest Supporters' Trust have already been to Anfield this past week to lay floral wreaths at the memorial in honour of the 97, while they also met Margaret Aspinall - who has spearheaded the campaign for justice for decades - and Reds fan group Spirit of Shankly.

And Forest have confirmed in a post on social media that 97 seats will be left vacant to honour those who lost their lives, in what is sure to be an emotional occasion for both sets of supporters.

The game kicks off at 6pm on Sunday evening and is the final tie of the quarter-final cycle to be played.