Borussia Dortmund have dedicated the FIFA Fan Award that was jointly awarded to their fans and Liverpool fans to the 96 victims of the Hillsborough disaster in 1989.
At Monday’s inaugural The Best award ceremony, FIFA honoured Dortmund and Liverpool fans after they sang “You’ll Never Walk Alone” in unison ahead of their Europa League meeting, which was played the day before the 27th anniversary of the disaster.
The “chorus of solidarity” was selected by FIFA.com users as the winner of the FIFA Fan Award ahead of the Iceland fans who memorably supported their country at Euro 2016 and the ADO Den Haag fans who threw soft toys for terminally ill children.
With the news breaking that Liverpool and Dortmund supporters received the award, a message on BVB’s official Twitter feed read: “Thank you very much! In our opinion, this title should belong to the 96 victims of the Hillsborough disaster.”
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp, who was in charge of Dortmund from 2008 to 2015, added on his current club’s official website: “Of course, this award honours both sets of supporters and the respect shown by our friends from Dortmund was absolutely typical of the world-class values that club upholds.
“To honour the 96 victims, their families and the survivors of Hillsborough was very poignant.”
He added that he hopes “the special memories created that night can serve as a perfect example of the joy and happiness football can bring.”
“You’ll Never Walk Alone,” which was adopted by Liverpool fans in the 1960s, has travelled the world and is also a standard ahead of Dortmund matches at their Westfalenstadion, although it is a different version, sung by local group Pur Harmony, and only made its debut at Germany’s biggest stadium in 1996.
Dortmund supporters have shown a special bond with Liverpool in the past. On the 25th anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster the club and fans dedicated their version of “You’ll Never Walk Alone” to the victims prior to their game against Wolfsburg that year.
And in September 2012, Dortmund’s biggest ultra group, The Unity, displayed a “Justice For The 96” banner during their 5-0 home win against Borussia Monchengladbach at the Westfalenstadion.