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The BBC's Richard Wells
"Leeds United players returned home clearly upset"
 real 28k

Mark Steels, National Criminal Intelligence Service
"It's not for us to criticise overseas police methods"
 real 28k

FA Chief Executive David Davies
"We will play a full part in the Uefa investigation"
 real 28k

The BBC's Paul Newman in Istanbul
"The police operation was followed by the local press"
 real 28k

Friday, 7 April, 2000, 11:07 GMT 12:07 UK
Turk 'admits' stabbing Leeds fan
floral tributes
A fan examines floral tributes left at Elland Road
A Turkish man has confessed to stabbing one of two English fans killed in clashes before a Uefa Cup semi-final, Istanbul police have said.

Police said that a suspect confessed during interrogation that he stabbed a Leeds fan during pre-match violence.

A second man is said to have admitted involvement in a separate incident.

Two men are expected to be brought to court on Saturday or Sunday to face charges.

Christopher Loftus, 37, and father-of-two Kevin Speight, 40, were killed in scuffles in Istanbul city centre on the eve of the game between Leeds United and Galatasaray.

Five people were arrested in connection with the murders and two more are being sought.

It was unclear whether the suspect said to have confessed was suspected in the stabbing of Mr Loftus or Mr Speight.

The reported confession came after Leeds United fans and players returned home following the emotional but trouble-free game.

Despite the turbulent build-up, the match - which the Turkish side won 2-0 - passed off without incident.

It was difficult to focus and we all felt numb

Leeds chairman Peter Ridsdale
As they arrived at Leeds Bradford Airport, fans said they were angry at their treatment by the Turkish authorities and the Galatasaray followers.

Fan Andrew Henshaw said: "I cannot take it in, and I don't think we have done yet.

"Galatasaray fans showed no respect at all. Only the Leeds fans held the minute's silence."

Supporter Paul Cochran said: "It was just unreal. You have never seen anything like it in your life."

Police escorted Leeds fans straight to the airport in an attempt to avoid further trouble - a move criticised by many fans.

Leeds United players, club officials and fans arrived back at Leeds Bradford Airport at 0400BST.
Kevin Speight
Kevin Speight with his son George
Chairman Peter Ridsdale said it had been a terrible 48 hours.

He said the players were glad to be back safely in Leeds and efforts would now be concentrated on supporting the families of the two men who were killed.

Mr Ridsdale said: "The only options we had was to go ahead with the match or pull out of the competition.

"After consulting with the Football Association and Uefa we decided to go ahead. It was difficult to focus and we all felt numb.

"The game in a sense was meaningless. You just can't compare two people's lives to a football match."

Fifteen minutes before kick-off, with flags flying at half mast at one end of the ground, an announcement was made over the public address system.

Football disgrace

To whistles from the crowd a female announcer said: "Galatasaray offer their sincere condolences for the tragic events that occurred last night and condemn all acts of violence that serve only to disgrace the name of football."

The Leeds players paused for a moment's silence, although there was no official minute's silence for the two fans who died.

At the end of the game, the English supporters were held in the stadium awaiting a police escort to the airport while the Turkish fans spilled out into the streets celebrating their victory.

Fans have been laying tributes at Elland Road
It is thought that Wednesday's fighting broke out after a group of Leeds fans were involved in an argument with workmen in a passing van.

Now thoughts are turning to the second leg at Elland Road in two weeks' time.

Security arrangements are being reviewed in the wake of the trouble.

Leeds Central MP Hilary Benn told the BBC: "The overriding concern must be the safety of supporters.

"If the two clubs and Uefa come to the conclusion the Galatasaray fans should not travel, I will support that decision."

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See also:

06 Apr 00 | Football
Galatasaray exploit the gaps
07 Apr 00 | Football
Ban Turkish teams call
06 Apr 00 | Europe
Fans' anguish at deaths
06 Apr 00 | Europe
Tight security at Euro match
06 Apr 00 | Media reports
Turkish press blames British 'hooligans'
06 Apr 00 | Europe
Passion of Turkish fans
06 Apr 00 | Europe
Tragedy mars match fever
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