WARNING: Some readers may find the below images disturbing.
It was supposed to be another match between Beşiktaş and Bursaspor. With Beşiktaş needing a win to climb to contention for the Turkish Super League title, and Bursaspor needing a win to keep pace with Trabzonspor at the top of the standings, this match was important for both clubs. Beşiktaş won the match 1-0. However, the big news from this match wasn’t the result itself, but what happened before the match got started.
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A fierce rivalry between the two clubs resulted in hooliganism rearing its ugly head in Turkey. Two Bursaspor fans were stabbed by Beşiktaş fans and had to be hospitalized. Another Bursaspor fan was hospitalized with undisclosed injuries and a Beşiktaş fan was left bleeding after being hit with a water bottle. Five people have been detained by police due to these events.
Fans of the two clubs had been banned from traveling to the away matches for five years. This is due to the fact that Bursaspor fans blame Beşiktaş for, what they thought was intentionally losing matches against Bursaspor’s rivals to have Bursaspor relegated to the 1st division. This happened at the end of the 2003-04season. Bursaspor fans weren’t happy about it and took out their frustrations on Beşiktaş fans. Sunday’s match marked the first time that Bursaspor fans could travel to Beşiktaş’ Inonu stadium to watch their club face Beşiktaş, as the ban was lifted for the supporters of both clubs.
The security detail for the match only was at about 1,600 policemen. Selim Kurtulan, the head of the Bursaspor Teksas supporters group, blamed the police for not providing enough security. Kurtulan told Dogan News Agency that the crowd trouble “was due to the malevolent attitude of the police and a few rotten apples in a 1,600 strong group.”
Regardless of whether the police or the supporters led to the violence, these sorts of events have reared their ugly head yet again in Turkey. It was only a few months ago when Gaziantepspor had to forfeit a match due to crowd trouble. Yet again, supporters seem to think they are the show and the football match is only a backdrop for their shenanigans.
So what should be done? Should there be more security for these high tension matches? Should the ban be reinstated? Should the TFF fine both clubs a hefty amount of cash for these events?
It seems that no matter what the punishment handed down may be, there will be cries of favoritism to one club depending on what side of the fence one’s support lies. The TFF should make an example of both clubs, but then there could be conspiracy theories on how the TFF shows favoritism.
This incident at the Inonu stadium has highlighted a problem which has only been swept under the rug by Turkish football officials and fans. On Sunday, blood was spilled, fights were fought, and four people had to go to the hospital. This problem has become almost the norm in Turkey and it has to stop. Something has to change within Turkish football and supporter mentality.
Then again, who’s to say when this will happen again? And if instead of people ending up in the hospital, people will be attending a funeral for a dead supporter?