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FIFA condemns Turkish league violence after soccer fans storm pitch and attack Fenerbahçe players

Trabzonspor fans attack Fenerbahçe players. Serkan Hacioglu/dia images/Getty Images

FIFA President Gianni Infantino has condemned the violence that broke out after Trabzonspor fans stormed the pitch and attacked Fenerbahçe players following a Turkey Süper Lig match Sunday.

The brawl broke out after the final whistle as Fenerbahçe celebrated its 3-2 win.

Security forces tried to shield Fenerbahçe players, as fans stormed the pitch.

“The violence witnessed after the Turkish Süper Lig match between Trabzonspor and Fenerbahçe is absolutely unacceptable – on or off the field, it has no place in our sport or society,” Infantino said in a statement released on social media.

“I have said it before, and I will say it again – without exception, in football, all players have to be safe and secure to play the game which brings such joy to so many people all over the world.

“I call on the relevant authorities to ensure that this is respected at all levels and for the perpetrators of the shocking events in Trabzon to be held accountable for their actions,” Infantino added.

Following the match Turkey’s interior minister Ali Yerlikaya confirmed in a post on X, that authorities had launched an investigation into the brawl and to identify the fans who had stormed the pitch.

Trabzonspor fans invade the pitch and clash with Fenerbahçe players and security staff after the match. Ihlas News Agency/Reuters

In a statement released on Sunday, the Turkey Football Federation said, “We are in communication with our representatives and state officials regarding the events that occurred during and after the match played between Trabzonspor A.Ş. and Fenerbahçe A.Ş. in the Trendyol Super League.

“What happened in football, which is a game of friendship, peace and brotherhood, is never acceptable.

“No one should have any doubt that once the investigations are completed, necessary criminal sanctions will be imposed on those responsible for these incidents to prevent them from recurring,” the federation added.

Following the match, according to BBC Sport, Trabzonspor coach Abdullah Avci said, “We are going through a period that Turkish football is now completely fed by chaos, where tensions are constantly high, and where we cannot use the healing power of football.”

While Fenerbahçe manager Ismail Kartal reportedly added, “I don’t understand why this place is so tense. Don’t we have the right to celebrate? We need to overcome these things. We need to be tolerant towards each other and have common sense.”

This is the latest controversy to engulf Turkish football.

In December, Faruk Koca, the president of top-flight Turkish soccer club Ankaragücü resigned, a day after he punched a FIFA-licensed referee in the face. Recently, there have been reports of several protests of referee-related decisions.

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