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Last Updated: Saturday, 11 October, 2003, 13:59 GMT 14:59 UK
Deported England fans arrive home
Turkish police
Thousands of Turkish police are at the ground
England football fans who were denied entry to Turkey for a Euro 2004 qualifying match have begun arriving back in the UK.

Forty-five supporters who were not known to be troublemakers were deported from Istanbul ahead of Saturday's game.

They had been held overnight by Turkish authorities as part of measures to prevent violence during the match.

By mid-afternoon many had arrived in London's Heathrow airport, having been barred from entering Turkey and detained at Istanbul's airport.

Tight security

Four other England fans - three men and a woman - were arrested trying to gain access to the football ground.

Security is tight in Istanbul with thousands of Turkish police on duty to prevent any trouble between rival fans attending the match, which starts at 1800 BST.

The deported supporters had arrived from various places, not all directly from the UK, and were not on a list of 1,800 banned people, said David Swift, head of the English policing team in Istanbul.

Fans arriving back at Heathrow

"They have not been guilty of any criminal behaviour, it is just that the government and police service here adopted the approach where they refused them access," he said.

Mr Swift said the measures had been taken to avoid a replay of the violence which flared after the England-Turkey game in Sunderland in April.

"The best way to reduce disorder is to make sure the fans do not come alongside each other."

Three British people who arrived back on Saturday said they had been kept in a room overnight with about 20 others, with no food or water for 16 hours.

"They treated us like dirt," one fan, Clive Adams, told BBC News.

FA criticised

British police had asked for their names and addresses and then handed their passports to Turkish authorities, he said.

Police believe fewer than 200 England fans may have entered the country, compared with 15,000 England fans who usually travel to major games abroad.

England's Football Association (FA) had refused tickets for the match against Turkey amid fears of violence, but some fans may try to buy them unofficially.

One England supporter who managed to enter Turkey described the FA as "a third security force".

There's been no trouble, I've only seen about 10 fans out here
Kevin Miles, Football Supporters' Association
The fan, named only as "David", told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "As a loyal football fan, why shouldn't I be allowed to watch football in any country I choose to watch it in?"

Although David did not have a ticket for the game, he said he expected no problems in obtaining one.

Adrian Bevington, head of media relations for the FA, said: "Thankfully most supporters seem to have listened to the strong recommendations from the government, police and ourselves."

But Kevin Miles, chairman of the Football Supporters' Association, said it was a shame fans were being refused entry to the country.

"It's a sad state of affairs when the desire only to go to a football match is sufficient to have you deported from a country," he said from Istanbul.

Istanbul police spokesman Feyzullah Arslan said more than 5,000 officers would be on duty at the Sukru Saracoglu stadium, and fans would be searched "one by one".

Two fans were deported on Thursday because they were on a police list of "known hooligans".

The BBC's Ben Brown
"Any England fans that make it to the ground are unlikely to make it inside"

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