Galatasaray handed over league trophy in the dark
ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
DAILY NEWS photo, Emrah GÜRELVideo cameras and flashes illumed a dark Şükrü Saraçoğlu pitch in the early hours of yesterday, as the newly-crowned Galatasaray received the championship trophy after the final game of the Spor Toto Super League.
The Istanbul club’s 18th league title came following a goalless draw at Fenerbahçe, which helped the visiting side grab the title in a season overshadowed by a major investigation into match-fixing allegations. Galatasaray players, coaches, executives and journalists spent more than three hours inside the stadium before the trophy ceremony, as police tried to disperse angry and devastated Fenerbahçe supporters.
The home fans hoped that a victory against Galatasaray, and hence the league title, would be the crowning glory of a season in which Fenerbahçe struggled with problems both on and off the pitch. Many of the club’s supporters and players said ahead of Saturday night’s game that they would dedicate the trophy to Fenerbahçe chairman Aziz Yıldırım, who is on trial under arrest for his alleged role in match fixing last season.
Despite losing the title, thousands of Fenerbahçe fans at Şükrü Saraçoğlu gave a standing ovation to their players, acknowledging the hard work they had put in throughout the season. But not all the fans were appreciative. Hundreds invaded the pitch after the final whistle, with many also trying to breach the security line to attack Galatasaray players.
DAILY NEWS photo, Emrah GÜREL
Following the incidents, the Turkish Football Federation (TFF) offered to hand over the trophy to Galatasaray in the dressing room. However, the offer was rejected by Galatasaray Chairman Ünal Aysal and coach Fatih Terim. “The dressing room is not the place to receive the championship trophy,” Terim said in a televised interview. He also said Galatasaray could be considered two-times champion, as the club had both finished leader of the regular season and the playoff.
The team was given the trophy on the pitch three-and-a-half hours after the final whistle, reportedly following a phone call from Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to the Istanbul governor, where he ordered the ceremony to be held.
However, the trophy had to be given to the winning side under the lights of reporters’ video cameras, since the lights of the Şükrü Saraçoğlu Stadium were no longer lit.
Galatasaray later travelled with the trophy to its facilities in Florya, where thousands of supporters had waited for hours to welcome the team. A brief celebration was held with the trophy in Florya, with the supporters cheering for coach Terim and players.
The club’s home stadium, the Türk Telekom Arena, was also set to host a major celebration last night to mark the end of the longer-than-usual season.
Angry Fenerbahçe supporters clash with police after the game
Hundreds of disappointed Fenerbahçe fans clashed with police following Saturday night’s title-deciding game. Fenerbahçe supporters threw stones at police, overturned trash bins and smashed shop windows around the Şükrü Saraçoğlu Stadium in Kadiköy.
Forty-seven Fenerbahçe fans were detained during the clashes according to a security source. While the suspects were in custody yesterday, the police were working on
videos and photographs to identify more perpetrators. More detentions could follow, said the same source.
Television footage showed Fenerbahçe fans overturning police cars in front of a gas station. One of the police cars was torched by the angry mob and the fire was later put out by the employees of the gas station. Clashes between Fenerbahçe supporters and the police initially began before the match started when police tried to disperse fans outside the stadium before the kick off. Clashes in the Mecidiyeköy district before the game between fans of Fenerbahçe and Galatasaray resulted in the injuries of four Fenerbahçe fans.
A 12-year-old Fenerbahçe fan was also reportedly stabbed in a quarrel on a metrobus line. Meanwhile, Hasan Yarış, a 46-year-old Galatasaray fan, who died of heart attack during the derby game, was laid to rest yesterday in the Aegean province of Denizli.
Prime minister angry about rioting fans
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said yesterday he was sorry to see the incidents that followed Saturday night’s championship derby game between Fenerbahçe and Galatasaray.
The prime minister said that women and children were allowed to attend otherwise closed games to raise the standards of the fans. “But swearing continues even at those games,” he said.
“We thought the women would help the men improve, but they were no better than the men. “I’m a Fenerbahçe fan, but I congratulate Galatasaray. I condemn the mentality that promotes terrorism in the stands,” he said.