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02nd Apr 2024

Referee praised for stopping game for Leeds minute’s applause

Callum Boyle

Leeds Chris and Kev

A brilliant gesture

Referee Josh Smith has been praised by football fans for pausing the game to allow Leeds United fans to pay tribute to two supporters.

In the game closest to the anniversary, Leeds fans continued their yearly tradition by taking part in a minute’s applause to remember Chris Loftus and Kevin Speight.

The two were in Istanbul, Turkey to watch the Yorkshire side face Galatasaray on April 5, 2000 when the two were tragically killed.

Before the game wreaths were laid by the plaque commemorating Chris and Kevin outside of the East Stand at Elland Road.

On the 24th minute, to mark 24 years since the tragic incident, fans around the ground paid their respects with a minute’s applause and during that moment, Smith paused the game so that the players could also join in.

It was a moment that saw football brought together and Smith was praised for allowing everyone to take the moment in.

“Superb by the Hull fans, players and the ref,” wrote one person.

“Absolute class from the ref stopping proceedings,” posted a second.

Another commented: “Well done the referee – stopped play and applauded.

“Moments that transcend football and rivalry! Quality from everyone in the ground,” said another.

“Fair play to the ref for stopping it also when he did so players could do this also,” a fifth person said.

Leeds went on to win the game 3-1, leaving them a point behind league leaders Ipswich Town with seven games to go.

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