Football fans clash with police in Turkey

Fenerbahce supporters storm onto pitch and battle police in Istanbul as draw hands title to archrivals Galatasaray.

    Football fans in Istanbul have clashed with Turkish police at the climax of the country's football season, which saw Galatasaray claim the league championship with a goalless draw at the home of archrivals Fenerbahce. 

    Fenerbahce fans ripped up seats and threw them on to the playing surface. Police used pepper spray to disperse the fans and evacuated the Sukru Saracoglu Stadium as players fled from the pitch.

    Galatasaray fans did not attend the match under a federation ruling.

    Outside the stadium police fired tear gas and water cannon as they clashed again with Fenerbahce supporters.

    There were contrasting scenes elsewhere in the city at Taksim Square where thousands of Galatasaray fans danced, lit flares and waved flags in the team's red and yellow colours to celebrate their team's 18th league title.

    The victory comes days after Turkish soccer authorities cleared all teams implicated in an alleged match-fixing scheme.

    In a highly-charged derby that Fenerbahce needed to win to retain the championship, Galatasaray hung on against a more attack-minded home side as red cards reduced both sides to 10 men in the second half.

    The former UEFA Cup winners are now level on 18 championships with Fenerbahce.

    Galatasaray ended the four-way title playoffs with 48 points, one ahead of Fenerbahce. Trabzonspor were third and Besiktas fourth.

    Match-fixing scandal

    Galatasaray manager Fatih Terim, in his third spell in charge, has led the club to the title one year after taking over from caretaker Bulent Under.

    There was a tense atmosphere ahead of Saturday's game

    But the action on the pitch in Turkey has been reduced to something of a sideshow this season with media attention focused on charges of match-fixing against 93 players and officials around the country including Fenerbahce chairman Aziz Yildirim.

    Paying tribute to their jailed chairman, Fenerbahce fans with placards formed a huge picture of Yildirim in one of the stands before Saturday's match.

    The match-fixing investigations led to the resignation of the Turkish Football Federation (TFF) chairman, changes in football regulations and volatility in the shares of clubs amid media speculation over possible sanctions.

    The disciplinary committee this week announced bans of between one and three years on 10 players and officials but no action was taken against any club.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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