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LONDON (Reuters) - The deaths of 96 football fans in Britain's worst sporting disaster could be reinvestigated after the country's chief prosecutor launched on Monday a formal application to quash their inquests' verdicts.
The Liverpool supporters died in a crush in an enclosed, overcrowded terrace at the stadium in the northern city of Sheffield on April 15, 1989 during an FA Cup semi-final against Nottingham Forest.
Attorney General Dominic Grieve applied to the High Court to overturn the "accidental death" verdicts reached at the original inquests into the Hillsborough stadium tragedy.
An independent inquiry concluded in September that police tried to deflect the blame onto fans to cover up their own incompetence and suggested that 41 lives could have been saved if the emergency response had been quicker.
"The principal ground for the application is the new medical evidence. The alteration to police and emergency services evidence is a supporting factor as is stadium safety," the attorney general's office said in a statement.
The families of the victims have campaigned for more than 20 years to overturn official accounts that smeared fans, blaming them for being drunk, ticketless and intent on forcing their way into the packed ground.
The court will set a date for the hearing in due course, the statement said.
Reporting By Alessandra Prentice; Editing by Michael Roddy