Fans keen on flags

Fans keen on flags

Fans keen on flags

The Oct 25 game between Istanbul football giant Fenerbahçe and Greek Cyprus’ AEL Limassol was declared by the former a high-risk match. Hürriyet photo

Turkish fans will not be prevented from unveiling national flags at an upcoming Fenerbahçe-AEL Limassol football match in Greek Cyprus, a group of Yellow Canaries supporters have said. The statement followed moves by another Fenerbahçe fan group to stop flags from being displayed at the stadium. The KKTC Fenerbahçeliler Association, a Fenerbahçe fan group in northern Cyprus, is forcing fans to sign a declaration promising not to unveil Turkish or Turkish Cypriot flags during the Europa League between the Fenerbahçe and Limassol on Oct. 25.

A second fan group, the Turkish Cypriot Fenerbahçe Fans Association, said fans would not be prevented from waving the flags.

“We have warned our fans verbally, unlike a written statement made by the other group,” said the association’s vice president, Ali Cansu. “As a fan, I am disturbed by this ban, but we will try to not damage the team. However, there will be people bringing flags to the game whatever they say. And when Greek Cypriots unveil their national flag, our fans will unveil flags, too. You cannot stop that no matter what you do to prevent it.”

KKTC Fenerbahçeliler Association Chairman Ersin Çoban said the club was aware of the decision, while Fenerbahçe said the decision was up to individual fan groups.

The Oct. 25 game has been declared a high-risk match, according to a statement released by Fenerbahçe on its website.

“The game is listed in the high-risk category by the UEFA [European football’s governing body]. As a result, our club is responsible for having its supporters sign a statement that they would stand by UEFA codes for away supporters,” a statement released by Fenerbahçe said. “Furthermore, our supporter groups in Cyprus took the initiative to add a few more articles to the statement since the game is in the high-risk category.”

AEL Limassol has not banned its supporters from bringing Greek or Greek Cypriot flags to the Europa League match.

Some 300 police officers will reportedly be in attendance during the match as part of security measures at the stadium.

Turkish sports teams’ trips to Greek Cyprus have often produced volatile incidents.

Last year, the Galatasaray women’s volleyball team was subjected to debris thrown from the stands during a game with Apollon Limassol, while there were similar attacks during a Pınar Karşıyaka men’s basketball team’s match against APOEL.