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The BBC's Paul Newman in Istanbul
"Last nights events can only tarnish what happens on the field of play"
 real 28k

The BBC's John Thorne in Leeds
"Disbelief at last night's events"
 real 28k

Mark Steels, National Criminal Intelligence Service
"It's not for us to criticise overseas police methods"
 real 28k

FA Chief Executive David Davies
"We will play a full part in the Uefa investigation"
 real 28k

Thursday, 6 April, 2000, 17:51 GMT 18:51 UK
Tight security for Euro match

Turkish police officers get ready to patrol the stadium
A major security operation is in action in Istanbul, as Leeds and Galatasaray play a Uefa cup clash despite the deaths of two English fans.

More than 2,500 police officers are on duty at the Ali Sami Yen Stadium where the semi-final first leg is being played.

Uefa officials decided the game should go ahead despite the deaths of Christopher Loftus and Kevin Speight who were stabbed in violent clashes with Galatasaray fans on Wednesday. Another man remains seriously ill in hospital.

Kevin Speight
Kevin Speight with his son George
Mr Hunt said he had held the meeting with police on Thursday to co-ordinate arrangements for the game which kicked-off at 1830GMT.

He said Leeds fans would be given police escorts from their hotels to the stadium, and back to their hotels or the airport after the game.

Consular officials were on stand-by at the ground and Mr Hunt appealed for any fans experiencing difficulties on Thursday evening to contact them.

Around 13 Turkish people have been questionied about the disturbances, but none of those held is believed to be a murder suspect.


Any delay would just heighten the tension

Leeds chairman Peter Ridsdale

A Foreign Office spokesman said Mr Hunt was satisfied that the Turkish authorities were taking the incident very seriously and were determined to get to the bottom of who was responsible.

Sixteen British fans have been deported.

'Dreadful incident'

Security was already tight around the stadium on Thursday afternoon as fans gathered for the match.

Prime Minister Tony Blair condemned the "dreadful incident" but appealed for calm and said the government's thoughts were with the families of the two men who died.

Leeds chairman Peter Ridsale said Uefa had decided to press ahead with the game after the alternatives have been ruled out.

floral tributes
Leeds fans have been leaving floral tributes at Elland Road
He said: "We had three options, one was for the match never to be played should we have decided to have pulled out of tonight's fixture and therefore withdrawn from the tournament.

"The other was to have rescheduled the game, but that would have led to an impossible situation through heightened tensions.

"The third was to go ahead and play the game. The Uefa view was that it should go ahead as planned and we accept that."

'Restraint'

About 500 fans have tickets for the match at the notoriously intimidating Ali Sami Yen Stadium, which Turkish fans refer to as "hell".

Chief Superintendent Steve Matthews, of West Yorkshire Police, who is in Istanbul, advised them to stay in their hotels and wait to be escorted to the stadium.

He urged Leeds supporters to show restraint and to remember that the Galatasaray fans inside the stadium were not responsible for their colleagues' deaths.


Galatasaray's fans are notoriously fervent
It is unclear what sparked the violence but some reports said Leeds fans provoked Turks.

It is not the first time English fans have met a hostile reception in Istanbul, although it is by far the most violent incident.

In 1993 Manchester United fans ran into trouble when their side played Galatasaray in Istanbul.

More than 200 fans were arrested and many more were denied entry to the stadium.

Last October, Chelsea players were given a hostile reception on their arrival at Istanbul airport for a match with Galatasaray. But no violence was reported.

Manchester United captain Roy Keane said the deaths of the two Leeds fans was "unbelievable".

Keane, who was in the squad in Turkey when the trouble flared in 1993, said: "You don't mind about the hostility inside the ground but people being injured or killed is unbelievable."

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See also:

06 Apr 00 | Europe
Fans' anguish at deaths
06 Apr 00 | Media reports
Turkish press blames British 'hooligans'
06 Apr 00 | Europe
Passion of Turkish fans
06 Apr 00 | Europe
Tragedy mars match fever
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