Fenerbahce shamed after fans chant Putin’s name during Dynamo Kiev UCL qualifier

July 29 – Fenerbahce fans are being investigated by UEFA for disgracefully chanting Russian President Vladmir Putin’s name during a Champions League qualifier against Ukraine’s Dynamo Kyiv in Istanbul. 

UEFA said that an ethics and disciplinary inspector has been appointed to investigate “alleged misbehaviour of Fenerbahçe supporters” during the second qualifying round, second leg match which the Ukrainian club won 2-1 in extra time to go through after the first leg, played in the Polish city of Lodz, had finished scoreless.

The pro-Putin chants occurred after Dynamo midfielder Vitaliy Buyalskyi after giving his side the lead reportedly celebrated by making an eagle gesture with his hands – the symbol of Fenerbahce’s arch-rivals Besiktas.

In a statement condemning the excessive response of their fans, Fenerbahce referred to “the exaggerated movements of some of the opposing team’s players,” but admitted it “does not accept the reaction that arises from some of our stands” and that “sports and politics should always be kept separate from each other”.

Kiev head coach Mircea Lucescu, who formerly managed Turkey’s national side, said that UEFA “cannot accept the behaviour of the [Fenerbahce] fans” as the Russian army continues to commit atrocities across Ukraine.

The incident sparked uproar on social media, with some urging the Turkish side to be banned from European competitions. If found guilty of misconduct the club will likely be fined or potentially be forced to play a home game behind closed doors.

Ukraine’s ambassador to Turkey, Vasyl Bodnar, said in a Facebook post:  “”We will never understand the words of support for the Russian killer and aggressor who deliberately kills Ukrainians and destroys our country. Even football, which is so loved in Turkey, has its limits.”

Tellingly, there were no words of condemnation from the Turkish government. Although officially condemning Russia’s invasion, Turkey has tried to stay neutral despite its membership of NATO. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan met Putin last week in Tehran along with Iran while the Turks have also played an active role as a mediator in the conflict.

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