Police believed there had been a real chance of fatalities had swift action not been taken, and recommended the club reduce its capacity.
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The crush occurred in the two standing-only central pens in the Leppings Lane stand, allocated to Liverpool supporters.
Shortly before kick-off, in an attempt to ease overcrowding outside the entrance turnstiles, the police match commander chief superintendent David Duckenfield ordered exit gate C to be opened, leading to an influx of even more supporters to the already overcrowded central pens.
The disaster resulted in a number of safety improvements in the largest football grounds, notably the elimination of fenced standing terraces in favour of all-seater stadiums in the top two tiers of English football.
The disaster led to a great deal of negative press about Liverpool supporters who had attended the match that day, as police fed false stories to the press suggesting that hooliganism and drinking by Liverpool supporters was the root cause.
Kick-off was scheduled for pm on 15 April, and fans were advised to take up positions 15 minutes beforehand.
At the time of the disaster, most English football stadiums had high steel fencing between the spectators and the playing field in response to both friendly and hostile pitch invasions.
Although Mole could have been assigned the semi-final match's planning despite his transfer, that was not done.
This left planning for the semi-final match to Duckenfield, who had never commanded a sell-out football match before, and who had "very little, if any" training or personal experience in how to do so.
The terrace was divided into five pens when the club was promoted to the First Division in 1984, and a crush barrier near the access tunnel was removed in 1986 to improve the flow of fans entering and exiting the central enclosure.