During the twenty years before the Hillsborough Disaster, crowd management and crowd control had become synonymous with the prevention of hooliganism. Measures such as high-profile policing, strict segregation of supporters, perimeter fencing and penning had become the main priority in policing operations at major matches. The effects of these strategies on non-hooligan fans seemed less significant. A breakdown in communication between the authorities, police and supporters had often resulted in confusion and, sometimes, mutual hostility.

Due to the apparent increase in violence at football grounds in the mid 1980s, the then Minister for Sport, Mr. Colin Moynihan, introduced the Football Spectators Bill to Parliament in 1988. Part One of the Football Spectators Act, 1989, dealt with the domestic game, proposing compulsory membership or identity cards for all spectators at League, Cup and International football matches in England and Wales. Part Two of the Act was concerned with imposing restrictions on fans travelling abroad to follow the England national team, another source of violent disorder on many occasions.

Following the Hillsborough Disaster, the Taylor Inquiry was charged with the task of instituting a programme of changes to every facet of the national game, in order to make watching football a safe and pleasurable pastime for all.

The Interim Report by Lord Justice Taylor was published in August, 1989. It produced 43 practical recommendations which could be immediately implemented by League clubs in order to improve safety for the start of the new season (1989/90).

The main recommendations were:

Restrictions on the capacities of self-contained pens.
Monitoring of crowd density by police and stewards, who would be specially trained for this job.
A review of all terrace capacities with an immediate 15 per cent reduction in all ground capacities.
The opening of perimeter fence gates.
An immediate review of the safety certificates held by all grounds.
New provision for first aid and emergency services at all grounds.
The setting up of locally-based advisory groups to advise on ground safety.

In Lord Justice Taylor's Final Report published in January 1990, he praised the football clubs for their positive attitude in implementing the interim recommendations. He then went on to look at the problems facing British football. The report discusses and criticises:

Leadership of football in Britain
Poor facilities
Old grounds
The lack of consultation between officials and fans
The behaviour of players
Alcohol as a possible cause of disorder
The attitude of newspapers and television
The effects of hooliganism and segregation on the general experiences of football spectators

Lord Justice Taylor then went on to make a total of 76 recommendations designed to improve the state of football in Britain. The most important of these are:

The gradual replacement of terraces with seated areas in all grounds by the end of the century, with all First and Second Division stadia being all-seater by the start of the 1994-5 Season and all Third and Fourth Division by 1999-2000.
Setting up an Advisory Football Design Council to advise on ground safety and construction and to commission research into this area.
That no perimeter fencing should have spikes on the top or be more than 2.2 metres tall.
Making ticket touting a criminal offence.
Introducing new laws to deal with a number of offences inside football grounds, such as racist chanting and taunting.
Sending older offenders to Attendance Centres and using new electronic tagging devices for convicted hooligans.

As a result of the Taylor Report, the section of the Football Spectators Act 1989, which proposed the introduction of a compulsory membership, or identity card scheme for football supporters was shelved. Many people felt that such a scheme would not have helped prevent disasters such as that at Hillsborough, which was not caused by violence. Football supporter organisations and other critics went further, saying that the cards would have made matters worse by slowing down the process of getting supporters in and out of the ground.

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