Leicester City Player Booked For On-Field Tribute To Late Club Owner
Fans are outraged over the decision by a Premier League referee to book Leicester City's Damari Gray for removing his jersey in a post-goal tribute to the club's late owner.
Saturday night's game against Cardiff City was an emotional event for Leicester City, who were taking the field for the first time since the death of club owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha.
The Thai businessman, who was widely beloved for his part in the club's unprecedented Premier League title winning campaign two years ago, was one of five people tragically killed in a helicopter crash outside the club's King Power Stadium on October 27.
His memory was honoured by players, fans and staff who observed a tearful minute's silence and unfurled a huge flag which read "R.I.P Vichai" before kick off.
The game's opening goal was scored by Gray in the 55th minute, after which the 22-year-old whipped off his jersey to reveal an undershirt bearing the message 'For Khun Vichai'.
Clearly dedicating the goal -- which would secure the team's 1-0 win -- to Srivaddhanaprabha, Gray was immediately flanked by his teammates.
But the tribute was cut short when referee Lee Probert raised a yellow card to Gray, booking him for removing his jersey in a post-goal celebration which is against FIFA rules.
The decision has been widely criticised across social media and sporting commentary, with Sky Sports presenter Jeff Stelling slamming Probert for showing a lack of sensitivity.
Former Liverpool and England defender Phil Thomson followed Stelling's lead, saying Probert should "get a life".
While many condemned Probert for following the letter of the law in an emotionally-charged moment, others have backed the referee for doing his job.
Despite the yellow card, Leicester walked away from the match proud to take home the win in honour of Srivaddhanaprabha.
"We were very close to the chairman," Captain Wes Morgan said after the game.
"We know what his wishes were. He used to come down at home games, have a joke and laugh, always say 'want win and three points', we did that today."
After the game, Leicester's squad, staff and management boarded a plane for an overnight flight to Thailand for Vichai's funeral, which began on Saturday and will last for a week.
"Every single player wanted to get out there to be at the funeral," goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel told the BBC.
"We are glad we've come away today from a really tough game with a win we can bring to Thailand and hope we did the family proud."