Galatasaray boss calls for closing of racism row

Galatasaray boss calls for closing of racism row

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Galatasaray boss calls for closing of racism row

Galatasaray Ivory Coast international superstar Didier Drogba has responded to racist gestures by rival fans with two statements on the web. AFP Photo

Galatasaray chairman Ünal Aysal has called on Turkish football to leave the racism row behind in the wake of a controversy-laden derby.

Aysal said that alleged racist gestures by Fenerbahçe fans during the May 12 Super League derby were “an accident.”

“Racism is not an issue of Turkey, that should not be in Turkey, that is foreign to us,” Aysal told reporters on May 12. “Accidentally and coincidentally that happened at the stadium then. Let’s see it as an accident. Let’s close the subject.”

Controversy was aroused on May 12 when photographs of the two fans holding bananas to the pitch before the derby. Galatasaray’s Ivory Coast stars Didier Drogba and Emmanuel Eboue reacted to the incident with separate statements.

On May 15, two Fenerbahçe board members had a press meeting with statements from the fans, who denied that they showed the bananas with racist motivations. The club also used footage to deny that rival players were on the pitch at the time. Later in the day, however, new photos of fans showing bananas while players were warming up surfaced.

Fenerbahçe then responded, saying it “would take the most severe measures” if the photos were confirmed to be true.