LONDON, April 10 (Reuters) - Everton's long-term support for their neighbours Liverpool regarding the Hillsborough disaster continued on Thursday when Roberto Martinez endorsed this weekend's plans to mark the anniversary.
The 25th anniversary of the tragedy that claimed the lives of 96 Liverpool fans at the FA Cup semi-final against Nottingham Forest on April 15 1989 falls next week.
The game was abandoned after six minutes and all matches in England's top eight divisions being played between April 11 and 14 as well as the FA Cup semi-finals at Wembley on Saturday and Sunday are kicking off seven minutes later than scheduled with a minute's silence included in the delayed time.
"It's a very important gesture," Everton manager Martinez told reporters ahead of his side's match against bottom-of-the-table Sunderland on Saturday.
"It's an important week, in terms of showing our respect and giving all the support we can to the families and to be all together in this moment.
"It is a gesture from the whole league, and everyone in world football, to pay their respects towards what happened 25 years ago."
Liverpool have held an annual memorial service at Anfield since the tragedy and Everton are joining them this year in holding a service at Goodison Park.
"In the city we are going to have an opportunity to have our own service, at Goodison, alongside the service at Anfield," Martinez added.
"We very much have that in mind, to be able to pay our respects, and every Evertonian will have the opportunity to do that."
New inquests have started into the deaths of the 96 fans - the worst sporting disaster in British history which was due to overcrowding at the Leppings Lane End of the Hillsborough Stadium in Sheffield. (Reporting by Mike Collett, editing by Pritha Sarkar)