Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 20 April 2014

Liverpool keeper's Hillsborough disgrace

The Liverpool career of reserve goalkeeper Charles Itandje is over after TV cameras captured the 26-year Frenchman laughing and fooling around during last Wednesday’s Hillsborough memorial service.

The player has been told he is not welcome back at the training ground after hundreds of outraged Liverpool supporters complained about Itandje’s behaviour on internet message boards.

The behaviour was utterly at odds with the prevailing mood at the ceremony marking the 20th anniversary of the tragedy, which claimed the lives of 96 Liverpool fans.

The keeper appears to be laughing and joking, simulating dance moves and trying to make team-mate and compatriot Damien Plessis laugh during a song sung at the service. Plessis was clearly embarrassed by his team-mates conduct, which he ignored.

A senior Anfield figure who has viewed the footage described Itandje’s conduct yesterday was “wholly unacceptable.”

Manager Rafael Benitez is also said to be appalled having seen the images himself having been alerted to the issue and has moved swiftly to seek action against the player. How Itandje could not have realised the significance of the occasion is unimaginable.

Benitez spoke only this week about how touched he had been to have met a survivor of the disaster and other members of Liverpool's playing staff, including several youth teams, were praised for their dignified response to the day.

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