The Hillsborough report can change public scepticism over the return of standing to the terraces of English stadia, according to The Football Supporters' Federation.

Families of the 96 Liverpool fans who died during the Hillsborough disaster in 1989 last week learned the truth behind the tragedy, after 23 years of campaigning for an independent report.

The report exposed the emergency services' negligent behaviour, outdated stadium safety certificates and the doctoring of police reports, exonerating supporters for the disaster as portrayed by The Sun newspaper in the aftermath.

The incident sparked the Taylor Report which recommended a major upgrade of English football stadia, with The Football League subsequently introducing regulations making all-seater terraces in the top two divisions of the pyramid mandatory, leading to a negative representation behind the safety of standing.

The FSF have led a fight for the re-introduction of standing since the report was published in 1990, and campaign leader Peter Daykin believes the report could be a catalyst for a change of perceptions.

Liverpool fans
Standing terraces in the top two divisions in English football were banned after the Taylor Report.

"I can completely understand how people touched by the tragic events at Hillsborough would then want to defend the position of standing being banned," Daykin said.

"There is no evidence to suggest that standing based terraces is any less safe that sitting but I can understand that if you're trying to make sense of tragic event and part of it was standing, you might want to cling to that.

"Now that people been given something approaching the truth hopefully that will reduce the heat on standing.

"In this campaign we spend our lives talking about Hillsborough and in our minds there isn't really a link.

"In some ways we're very pleased to get it over with. Getting this Hillsborough inquiry done has certainly reduced the pressure on safe standing and has been an advantage to it but safe standing and Hillsborough are two separate things. I don't think there is a correlation between the two."

The subsequent cover up from South Yorkshire Police blamed supporters for the tragedy and deflected criticism of the authorities' handling of the incident.

While the Taylor Report acknowledged police control was insufficient, an upgrade of football stadiums across the country was ordered, leading to standing being outlawed in the top two divisions; a misguided reaction according to Daykin.

"One of the most interesting things about this Hillsborough inquiry is that at no stage whatsoever was standing actually brought into it," he said.

"There are 101 contributing factors to the terrible events that happened at Hillsborough and at no point does anyone say that people were standing is inherently unsafe.

"This is very much retrospective, we're looking back at Hillsborough and the nature of the news at the moment makes that inevitable.

"In one sense I can see why people constantly ask us about the link with Hillsborough but in the other I don't think there is a logical leap between safe standing and the events of Hillsborough.

"The fact that it's not really on the table as something to argue about during this enquiry is basically an indication of what we've been saying for years which is that there is nothing to do with it.

"The move to all seated stadia was something of a knee-jerk over reaction to the events of Hillsborough and as time goes on people are starting to see that it might have been a bit of logical leap."

The 22-year campaign for a relaxation to the rules surrounding all-seater stadia has earned support, prior to the publishing of the Hillsborough report, from Premier League side Aston Villa and Championship club Peterborough United.

Daykin believes that now clubs have become involved in the debate, a movement towards resolving the issue of standing is closer to a resolution.

"Aston Villa and likes of Peterborough United have become vociferous and vehement backers of the safe standing campaign and that's a really interesting dynamic because before it was very easy to look at the safe standing campaign and just say they're just a bunch of crazy anoraks," he added.

"At that point the whole debate becomes completely mainstream and it changes massively and now that we've reach that point the next step is to get everyone round the table, all the different voices and start having a proper discussion.

"There has never been a time where so many people are looking at standing now and thinking actually we've got this wrong and there has been bizarre synchronisation and a few different things have led to that and things like finally getting the truth from Hillsborough has definitely helped."