Derby scuffle mars football as politicians promise counter-measures

Derby scuffle mars football as politicians promise counter-measures

Derby scuffle mars football as politicians promise counter-measures

Supporters of Beşiktaş attack police with plastic chairs during a pitch invasion that began in the dying minutes of a derby game against Galatasaray. AA photo

Turkish politicians voiced their reactions to the incidents which occurred during the Beşiktaş vs. Galatasaray football derby on Sept. 22, while 67 fans were handed one-year stadium bans for their invasion of the pitch. 

An Istanbul prosecutor imposed a one-year provisional ban on entering football games for 67 invaders, starting a wider investigation. The incidents, which occurred in the dying minutes of the Spor Toto Super League game at the Atatürk Olympic Stadium, also drew a reaction from political figures, with the ministers vowing harsher action in the future. 

Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç said, “Those incidents were extremely upsetting and ugly. Radical measures should be taken to prevent such an incident happening again.” 

The game was called off by the referee, Fırat Aydınus, with two additional minutes remaining as the supporters descended onto the pitch, while Galatasaray was leading 2-1. Both teams left the field for the dressing room as the crowd began to throw chairs onto the field. 

A scuffle broke out between Beşiktaş supporters and security personnel after Galatasaray’s midfielder, Felipe Melo, was shown a red card in the third minute of extra time. Beşiktaş Coach Slaven Bilic was also sent off just before the incident escalated.

Arınç also called for the authorities to find and punish those who sparked the incident, saying they should be banned from the stadiums.

“It seems that 3,000 to 5,000 people had been prepared to stage such a provocative action, and infiltrated the stadium or they were allowed to enter the stadium unchallenged,” Arınç said, giving credit to claims of the presence of a provocateur group in the tribunes.

It was reported that a fight among supporters broke out late in the game, around 10 minutes before the red card, and the incidents boiled over in the dying minutes. 

Youth and Sports Minister Suat Kılıç said there had been many incidents in derby games before, but not to the degree of pitch invasion, adding that, with the footage, all the invaders would be found and sanctioned. Kılıç added that they might consider assigning police officers instead of private security to prevent such incidents. 

Beşiktaş chairman Fikret Orman announced that the club had canceled its contract with the security company. 

“Private security does not run away from the fans, it chases them,” Orman said. “We saw a comedy like that.” 

Orman also acknowledged that the club would file lawsuit against the invaders. Beşiktaş now risks playing up to eight games behind closed doors due to the pitch invasion. In recent years, Fenerbahçe and Trabzonspor were given five-match bans due to pitch invasion, while Galatasaray was handed a five-match suspension for an onslaught of objects thrown onto the pitch. 

“I don’t think we will get any more bans,” Orman said. 

The Turkish Football Federation will announce its decision tomorrow. However, it is likely to rule a 3-0 win for Galatasaray. 

There were claims of a “provocateur” group triggering the incidents. Some fans claimed on the social media that there were few body searches and many people entered from the tourniquets without tickets. However, Orman denied the allegations, saying the club did not give out free tickets to any parties. Television footage, on the other hand, suggested that the stadium had been filled with more people than its actual capacity of 76,000, with some parts of the stadium seeming overcrowded. 

“We will do what is required by the police department, given that there are varying aspects involved. We will try and determine if there was any pre-planning prior to the game,” Interior Minister Muammer Güler said. “What’s necessary will be carried out regarding every single person that was detected by security cameras,” Güler said.