BBC Home
Explore the BBC
BBC News
Launch consoleBBC NEWS CHANNEL
Last Updated: Thursday, 9 October, 2003, 21:25 GMT 22:25 UK
Fans sent home from Turkey
Policeman outside England team's hotel in Istanbul
Hundreds of police are guarding the hotel used by the England team
Two known troublemakers have attempted to fly to Istanbul for Saturday's Euro 2004 qualifier, despite warnings from police.

The men - whose names apparently appeared on a list of over 1,000 hooligans - were stopped at passport control and are being sent back home.

The incident, which was reported on Turkish TV, has heightened fears that England fans are trying to attend the game despite warnings to stay away.

Turkish officials said England football supporters could be denied entry to the country.

England has turned down its allocation of tickets after a history of violent clashes between supporters from the two countries.

'No way out'

Mounting fervour in Turkey ahead of the game - which will determine which Group 7 team will advance directly to next year's final in Portugal - was evident as the England team arrived at Ataturk airport.

A group of around 100 Turkish fans chanted, "This is Turkey. There is no way out," according to Reuters news agency.

Police linked arms to prevent any confrontations and escorted the team's convoy into the city. Hundreds of police are also on guard around the hotel where the team is staying.

The game is played on the field and is won on the field. Ugly behaviour toward players of the other team... overshadows our success on the field
Turkish football federation statement
The Turkish football federation - fearing crowd trouble could jeopardise its own team's prospects - has also issued stern warnings to fans not to jeer at England players during the match.

In a statement it said small items such as mobile telephones, coins, and lighters - which could be thrown onto the pitch - will be banned, along with umbrellas, bottles, flares, and confetti.

"Any ugly events in the tribunes, even if small, leave a huge stain on what we earn and will be difficult to erase," the federation said.

"It must not be forgotten that the game is played on the field and is won on the field.

"Ugly behaviour toward players of the other team, including jeering, overshadows our success on the field."

Troubled history

England's 2-0 Euro 2004 qualifier win over Turkey in Sunderland in April was marred by crowd trouble.

English fans clashed with police before the game, booed the Turkish national anthem, chanted racist slogans and ran onto the field to celebrate goals.

In April 2000, two Leeds fans were stabbed to death while in Istanbul to attend a UEFA Cup match.

Supporters also clashed before the UEFA Cup final when Galatasaray beat Arsenal a month later.

However, feared collisions at an England-Macedonia match in Skopje last month failed to materialise despite about 500 England fans ignoring pleas to stay away.

The BBC's Jonny Dymond
"The British police have been working with the Turkish authorities to keep any fans away"


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


News Front Page | World | UK | England | Northern Ireland | Scotland | Wales | Politics
Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health | Education
Have Your Say | Magazine | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific