[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Sunday, 12 October, 2003, 04:31 GMT 05:31 UK
Turkey game trouble-free
Fan Clive Adams
England football fan Clive Adams from Hampshire arrives home
Tight security in Istanbul for England's Euro 2004 qualifier against Turkey has ensured a trouble-free event.

But as the England team flew in to Luton airport on Sunday morning, some of their fans sent home earlier said they were angry about not being allowed to enter Istanbul.

Forty-five supporters were deported from the city's Ataturk airport on Saturday, including many who were held overnight by Turkish authorities.

Some said they should have been allowed to visit Istanbul to enjoy the atmosphere ahead of the match, which saw England secure their place in the finals of Euro 2004 with a scoreless draw.

The Home Office said another 10 fans were stopped from entering the stadium and escorted by police to a nearby community centre.

'No food or water'

The fans sent home were not on banned lists while none of the UK's 1,800 banned individuals were spotted leaving the country, said police.

BBC correspondent Johnny Dymond in Istanbul said there was relief the feared violence between rival fans had failed to materialise.

If the Football Association had taken up their ticket allocation there would have been 15,000 England fans in the city for the game.

Instead police believe no more than 200 England fans reached the country.

The Foreign Office had warned England fans not to travel.

Fans arriving back at Heathrow

Police, supporters and many Turkish fans said the city "seemed poorer" for the lack of England fans, according to our correspondent.

As fans arrived at Heathrow Airport, they voiced their disgust at the way they were dealt with by Turkish authorities.

Three Britons said they had been kept in a room overnight with about 20 others, with no food or water for 16 hours.

Another fan, Rick Farmary, 31, from Nottingham, said they had booked their flights before the warning and only wanted to soak up the atmosphere in the city.

He said: "I've spent a lot of money for this and I am gutted. We were warned but not told that we were not able to go."

Other supporters had no complaints given the warnings.

Mike Fuller, from Surrey, said: "At the end of the day it is your own fault, you can't grumble about anything. We had plenty of warnings not to go."

Outside the stadium, which is used by Turkish club Fenerbahce, there was a 5,000-strong police presence.

Several England fans were stopped by police and escorted away on a bus, to watch the match on television in a community centre.

One was wearing a Fenerbahce football shirt and others had Turkey shirts.


BBC correspondent Ben Brown said the measures by Turkish police may have seemed "draconian" but had succeeded in ensuring that what could have been a potentially explosive fixture passed off peacefully.

After the match, police made sure there was no trouble in the pubs and cafes in the busy tourist area of Taksim Square.

David Swift, head of the English policing team in Istanbul, said of those deported: "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."

There has been a 10-year history of security problems between the two national teams and their club sides.

Ahead of the game, England had been threatened with expulsion if there was any trouble, following violence among their supporters when the teams met in April.

But there was some sympathy for fans from the Football Supporters' Association.

Chairman Kevin Miles, in Istanbul, said: "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."

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

The BBC's Yvonne Ndege
"Turkish police were praised for the success of the massive security operation"

England ready for action
11 Oct 03  |  England
Eriksson warns England fans
07 Sep 03  |  England
Fans sent home from Turkey
09 Oct 03  |  UK
Beckham claims crisis is over
10 Oct 03  |  Football

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


News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific