FIFA Condemns Violence in Turkish Football as Fans Attack Players

FIFA President Gianni Infantino has strongly condemned the violence that erupted after a Turkish Süper Lig match between Trabzonspor and Fenerbahçe on Sunday. The incident saw Trabzonspor fans storm the pitch and attack Fenerbahçe players following the away team’s dramatic 3-2 victory.

Security personnel struggled to shield the Fenerbahçe players as angry fans invaded the pitch, leading to a chaotic brawl. Infantino took to social media to express his outrage, stating, “The violence witnessed after the Turkish Süper Lig match…is absolutely unacceptable. On or off the field, it has no place in our sport or society.”

He emphasized the importance of player safety, highlighting that “all players have to be safe and secure to play the game.” Infantino concluded by urging “the relevant authorities to ensure that this is respected at all levels” and called for the perpetrators to be held accountable.

Turkish authorities have wasted no time in responding. Interior Minister Ali Yerlikaya confirmed an investigation is underway to identify the fans responsible for the pitch invasion. The Turkish Football Federation (TFF) echoed Infantino’s condemnation, releasing a statement calling the incident “unacceptable” and emphasizing that football should be a game of “friendship, peace, and brotherhood.”

The TFF pledged to impose “necessary criminal sanctions” on those responsible after a thorough investigation to prevent similar occurrences. CNN has reached out to both Trabzonspor and Fenerbahçe for comment.

Meanwhile, managers from both teams expressed their disappointment. Trabzonspor coach Abdullah Avci lamented the state of Turkish football, stating it’s “fed by chaos” with constant tension, hindering the sport’s positive influence. Fenerbahçe manager Ismail Kartal questioned the hostility, asking, “Don’t we have the right to celebrate?” He emphasized the need for “tolerance” and “common sense” to overcome such issues.

This is not the first instance of violence marring Turkish football recently. In December, Faruk Koca, president of top-flight club Ankaragücü, resigned after assaulting a referee. Reports also indicate frequent protests targeting refereeing decisions.

These incidents raise serious concerns about the safety of players and the overall health of Turkish football. FIFA’s condemnation and the TFF’s commitment to action are crucial first steps. However, long-term solutions are needed to address the underlying tensions and ensure that football in Turkey can be enjoyed by all in a safe and respectful environment.

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