Fourteen fans sent to court for fan violence

Fourteen fans sent to court for fan violence

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Fourteen fans sent to court for fan violence

Several wheelchairs were broken following the riots during a wheelchair basketball match between Istanbul rivals Galatasaray and Beşiktaş. AA photo

A total of 14 fans were sent to an Istanbul court yesterday for alleged involvement in crowd trouble during a wheelchair basketball match between Galatasaray and Beşiktaş on Dec. 9.

A total of 16 fans were detained in the wake of the wheelchair basketball match at the Ahmet Cömert Sports Hall in Istanbul, with two of them released from the Istanbul Police Department for being underage.

After being interrogated at the department, 14 individuals “including fans from both teams” were sent to the court, and may be arrested depending on the court’s decision.

Doğan News Agency reported that one of the 14 fans was İbrahim Aydın, who was also charged with assault prior to a Beşiktaş-Bursaspor football match on Dec. 5, 2010, when three fans were injured ahead of a Spor Toto Super League match.

Meanwhile, Galatasaray and Beşiktaş released a joint statement condemning the violence late on Dec. 10. However, Beşiktaş retracted the statement from its website a few hours after its release, before putting the statement back on its website again yesterday.

“The incidents ... are a bitter example for our sports scene,” the statement read. “Both clubs wish best for the athletes and their families, and state that we feel great sorrow.”

“We do not have the chance to play a blame game in a sport where clubs are working for new opportunities for the around 7.5 million disabled people in Turkey,” it said.

The statement came while fans of the two teams took it to social media for heated arguments over who started the fight.

The wheelchair basketball game between Galatasaray and Beşiktaş was called off on Dec. 9 due to crowd trouble. Police used tear gas to disperse brawling supporters in the sports hall, making it impossible to breathe on the court and in the stands.

The referees suspended the game during the second quarter. Some players were victims of attacks by rival supporters and video footage showed that a number of wheelchairs were broken.