Trabzonspor fans invade pitch and attack players after loss to Fenerbahce

March 18 – Turkish police have detained 12 people after fans of Trabzonspor invaded the pitch following the weekend home defeat to Fenerbahce and attacked visiting players, prompting immediate condemnation from FIFA president Gianni Infantino.

The Trabzonspor fans charged on to the pitch as Fenerbahce players celebrated their 3-2 win, kicking and punching them according to agency reports.

Some Fenerbahce players hit back including defender Bright Asayi-Samuel and forward Michy Batshuayi.  Security staff later helped the Fenerbahce players down the tunnel into the locker rooms.

The incident came just months after the president of top-flight club Ankaragucu was arrested for punching a referee, prompting the Turkish Football Federation to briefly suspend league games.

Turkish interior minister Ali Yerlikaya said an investigation into the latest incident was ongoing and that those who invaded the pitch would be identified. “The occurrence of violence on football fields is not acceptable,” he wrote.

The Turkish Football Federation also denounced the incident and said those responsible would be punished.

“No one should have any doubt that after the investigations are completed, the necessary penal sanctions will be imposed on those responsible (for the violence) to prevent the repetition of such incidents,” a statement said.

The clashes happened after Batshuayi scored in the 87th minute to secure the win and stay just two points behind Galatasaray in a tight league title race between the Istanbul city rivals. Trabzonspor, the 2022 champion, is a distant third in the standings.

“We are going through a period that Turkish football is now completely fed by chaos, where tensions are constantly high, and where we cannot use the healing power of football,” Trabzonspor coach Abdullah Avci told reporters.

His opposite number at Fenerbahce, Ismail Kartal, added: “I don’t understand why this place is so tense. Don’t we have the right to celebrate? We need to overcome these things. We need to be tolerant towards each other and have common sense.”

Infantino took to Instagram to condemn the violence and called on Turkish authorities to hold the perpetrators to account.

 

“The violence witnessed after the Turkish Super Lig match between Trabzonspor and Fenerbahce is absolutely unacceptable- on or off the field, it has no place in our sport or society,” Infantino said.

“All players have to be safe and secure to play the game which brings such joy to so many people all over the world.”

“I call on the relevant authorities to ensure that this is respected at all levels and for the perpetrators of the shocking events in Trabzon to be held accountable for their actions.”

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