ISTANBUL: The street protest spirit which helped undermine Istanbul’s bid to host the Olympics erupted again in a ‘fan storm’ at Turkey’s weekend derby between Galatasaray and Besiktas.
Chants associated with the demonstrations against the development at Taksim Square were audible as supporters invaded the pitch after the expulsion of Galatasaray’s Brazilian midfielder Felipe Melo.
The match was played at the Ataturk Stadium which was been proposed as central venue for the 2020 Olympics.
Istanbul’s bid was beaten by Tokyo at the recent International Olympic Committee congress in Buenos Aires. Local opposition to building development, endemic doping in athletics and a long-running matchfixing scandal all contributed to the bidding failure.
Police used teargas in an attempt to regain control after the pitch invasion which occurred in the third minute of stoppage time with Galatasaray leading 2-1. The referee took the players from the pitch.
Turkey’s football federation, which lost the chance to host the 2020 European football finals after the government prioritised the Olympic bid, has expressed an interest in hosting the concluding semi-finals and final of the tournament instead.