ISTANBUL: The Turkish government is reportedly seeking to persuade UEFA that police officers, rather than civilian stewards, should be in charge of crowd control at major stadia writes KEIR RADNEDGE.

This is being considered, according to the Turkish media, among other measures in response to the trouble which forced a halt to the Besiktas-Galatsaray derby in the Ataturk Stadium last weekend.

Some 29 arrests were made after a pitch invasion following the stoppage-time expulsion of Galatasaray’s Brazilian midfielder Felipe Melo.

Besiktas, as punishment, have been ordered to play four home games behind closed doors and fined £21,000 for the riot and insufficient security measures. Coach Slaven Bilic has been banned for three games.

The incident flagged up political problems surrounding the domestic game just as the football federation and the government registered a bid to host matches at Euro 2020 as a consolation to missing out on the Olympic Games.

Tension risk

Both European federation UEFA and world governing FIFA believe that formal stewarding of supporters is preferable to the use of police personnel which risks inflaming tempers in the stands.

According to Hurriyet, the Sports Ministry has asked the TFF to persuade UEFA to let it reintroduce police officers in a four-step plan aimed at preventing violence at games.

Youth and Sports Minister Suat Kilic revealed his roadmap two days after the Besiktas-Galatasaray eruption and wants the TFF to ask UEFA to be granted an exception right to the crowd control change, perhaps involving the use of plain-clothe officiers.

Kılıç described proposed law 6222 – “To Prevent Violence and Disorder in Sports” – as a significant step in the fight against hooliganism but that more deterrent penalties were needed.

He said: “With the new law, our intention is to raise the upper limit of stadium bans from three months to one year. We also intend to introduce longer prison sentences. The penalties should be more intimidating.”


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