Disabled athletes get share of hooliganism
ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
AA photoA wheelchair basketball game between Galatasaray and Beşiktaş was called off yesterday due to crowd trouble.
Police used tear gas to disperse brawling supporters at the Ahmet Cömert Sports Hall in Istanbul, making it impossible to breath on the court and in the stands. The referees suspended the game six minutes from the end of second quarter when Galatasaray was leading 31-26.
The game had also started with a half-hour delay due to Beşiktaş fans invading the court. The supporters of the two clubs chanted obscene slogans at each other until the police intervened.
Some players were victims of attacks by rival supporters and video footage showed many wheelchairs were broken.
Erdal Karacan, a Beşiktaş board member and the head of club’s disabled sports branch, told hurriyet.com.tr that he could not believe what had happened. “Unfortunately, the ban on away fans when the two clubs meet is not valid in wheelchair basketball,” he said.
Supporters of Galatasaray, Fenerbahçe and Beşiktaş are not allowed to attend away games between the three clubs in the Spor Toto Super League and the Beko Basketball League.
Galatasaray wheelchair basketball team coach Sedat İncesu said the signs of such an incident were obvious. “The opposition supporters should not have been allowed in this game. Who will pay the price for the injured athletes and supporters? If hooligans are now seen in wheelchair basketball then we have nothing to say, it is over,” he said.
The Galatasaray wheelchair basketball team is one of Europe’s top teams. It fell short in its bid to defend its title in the IWBF European Champions Cup last season and lost to Lahn Dill in the final in May, failing in its bid to add to its three titles over the last four years.