UEFA ‘parachutes’ severe sanctions to Fenerbahçe
As if they were in the stadium: Fenerbahçe fans parachuted flares onto the pitch from outside the stadium’s gates. AA photo
The UEFA has ordered Fenerbahçe to play without the attendance of fans again following an incident where the team’s supporters deployed flares into the stadium from outside using small parachutes during the UEFA Europa League last 32 second leg game against Belarus side BATE Borisov in Istanbul on Feb. 21.
Fenerbahçe will have to play the last 16 first leg match against Victoria Plzen on March 14 in an empty stadium. The UEFA also decided to put the team on probation for the next two years and exclude them from participating in the next UEFA club competitions if the same incident occurs in that period. Apart from disciplinary sanctions Fenerbahçe has also been fined 60,000 euros.
Despite the UEFA ban, Fenerbahçe fans gathered outside the Şükrü Saraçoğlu Stadium in Kadıköy to support their team despite not being allowed to enter the stadium. Fans found an unprecedented way supporting their team: parachuting flares onto the pitch from outside the stadium’s gates, which was not the taste of UEFA observer Stefano Farina.
"Those who sent these flares must be idiots,” he said, adding that the incendiary devices resulted in the burning of the Turkish flag. Five people were detained on suspicion of launching the flares into the stadium’s grounds.
Despite the flares the Yellow Canaries managed to see off the Belarusian challenge with a 1-0 victory, giving them a 1-0 aggregate victory.