BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: Sport: Football
Front Page 
UK Politics 
Talking Point 
In Depth 

The BBC's Chris Morris reports
"Ordinary fans in Istanbul are also upset"
 real 28k

The BBC's John Thorne
"Sense has prevailed"
 real 28k

The BBC's Paul Newman
"There was resentment at the UEFA ruling"
 real 28k

Saturday, 15 April, 2000, 02:24 GMT 03:24 UK
Turks' fury at Uefa ban
Floral tribute
Commemorative wreaths at Leeds United's ground
Turkish government and soccer officials are furious that Galatasaray supporters have been banned from next Thursday's potentially-explosive Uefa Cup semi-final second leg in Leeds.

Uefa, European soccer's governing body, took the decision to allow Galatasaray only 80 tickets after two Leeds United fans were stabbed to death on the eve of the first leg in Istanbul last week.

This is an example of an impotent, unjust double standard ... of racial discrimination

Turkish State Minister Mehmet Ali Irtemcelikhe
The ban, while welcomed in England, has been roundly condemned in Turkey, with State Minister Mehmet Ali Irtemcelikhe accusing Uefa of "racial discrimination".

"We have a situation where the Galatasaray supporters, deprived of their right to see the match, can be seen as victims of a violation of human rights," Turkey's Anatolian news agency quoted him as saying.

Turkish Sports Minister Fikret Unlu said the episode should rule out England's hopes of staging the 2006 World Cup.

He told The Express newspaper: "How can England stage the World Cup in 2006 if they cannot control their hooligan fans? It is against human rights.

"England want to host the World Cup in six years but how can they look to achieve this if they cannot guarantee safety for supporters.

Galatasaray shirt
A Galatasaray shirt is amongst thousands of other tributes
"If Leeds cannot guarantee safety of Galatasaray fans next week, Uefa should have changed the stadium and should not have banned Turkish fans."

He said Leeds were using the deaths to gain the upper hand in the tie after losing the first leg 2-0.

"It is a wrong decision," he said. "It is not right for England and the Leeds club to take advantage of the killings.

"But Galatasaray will win, and we will show to the whole world that the British attitude is wrong."

Galatasaray vice-chairman Mehmet Cansun said the decision was "disgusting".

We have to play the two football matches because violence must not be allowed to prevail

Leeds chairman Peter Ridsdale

"It's unacceptable," he said. "It's double standards."

His club and the Turkish Football Federation had urged Uefa to stage the match behind closed doors or at a neutral venue, while Leeds wanted to keep the game at its ground, Elland Road.


Feelings have been running high among Leeds supporters since the killings of Christopher Loftus and Kevin Speight in Istanbul, and West Yorkshire Police had said they could not guarantee the safety of the 1,750 Turkish fans who had bought tickets.

Galatasaray fans
Galatasaray fans voiced their anger at the ban at a game on Friday
Uefa spent the last few days weighing up evidence and arguments from both sides before finally backing Leeds and their chairman Peter Ridsdale.

"We have to play the two football matches because violence must not be allowed to prevail," Mr Ridsdale told BBC Radio 5 Live.

"It is a relief. It was something we have been asking for for a week."


And David Davies, a Football Association director, said the "right decision had been made" because of the sensitive situation.

Four Turkish men were formally charged on Friday with the murders and face jail terms of up to 60 years if found guilty.

Fourteen others face lesser charges resulting from the pre-match violence. A trial date has yet to be set.

Despite Galatasaray's threat to pull out of the competition should their fans not be allowed to travel, club president Faruk Suren has confirmed the game will go ahead.

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console
Football Contents

See also:

14 Apr 00 | Football
Uefa bans Turkish fans
14 Apr 00 | Football
Uefa's statement in full
14 Apr 00 | Football
Leeds chairman hails Uefa decision
13 Apr 00 | Football
Widow's plea to Turkish fans
06 Apr 00 | Europe
Passion of Turkish fans
10 Apr 00 | UK
Uefa delay Leeds decision
11 Apr 00 | Football
We want to play - Galatasaray
13 Apr 00 | Football
Leeds shock at Uefa charge
Internet links:

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

Links to other Football stories are at the foot of the page.