Trabzonspor fans invade pitch, attack Fenerbahce players in Turkey

Turkish top-tier club Trabzonspor's fans invaded the pitch following a home loss against Fenerbahce, touching off violent scuffles between the fans and visiting players

ByThe Associated Press
March 18, 2024, 3:26 AM

ANKARA, Turkey -- Turkish police have detained 12 people after fans of top tier soccer club Trabzonspor invaded the pitch following a home loss against Fenerbahce, touching off violent scuffles between the fans and visiting players.

The Trabzonspor fans charged onto the pitch as Fenerbahce players celebrated their 3-2 win following the final whistle of the Turkish Superlig game in the Black Sea coastal city of Trabzon late Sunday.

Some Fenerbahce players hit back at fans who kicked or punched them and video of the clashes went viral.

Defender Bright Asayi-Samuel landed a right hook punch on the run that knocked one pitch invader to the ground and forward Michy Batshuayi struck a fan running fast toward him with a spinning high-kick move.

Security staff later helped the Fenerbahce players down the tunnel into the locker rooms.

The incident came just months after the president of top-flight club Ankaragucu was arrested for punching a referee following a match, prompting the Turkish Football Federation to briefly suspend league games.

Interior Minister Ali Yerlikaya announced on X, formerly known as Twitter, on Monday that police detained 12 people in connection with the violence.

Yerlikaya said among those detained were a person who threw a projectile at Fenerbahce coach İsmail Kartal during the match, a man who was the first to invade the pitch, a fan who grabbed the corner flag and charged toward the players and a person who hit Fenerbahce goalkeeper Dominic Livakovic.

Earlier, Yerlikaya said an investigation was ongoing and that those who invaded the pitch would be identified.

“The occurrence of violence on football fields is not acceptable,” he wrote.

The Turkish Football Federation also condemned the incident and said those responsible would be punished following an investigation.

FIFA president Gianni Infantino used his Instagram account to condemn the incidents as “absolutely unacceptable,” and called on Turkish authorities to hold the perpetrators to account.

The clashes happened after Batshuayi scored in the 87th minute to secure the win and stay just two points behind Galatasaray in a tight league title race between the Istanbul city rivals. Trabzonspor, the 2022 champion, is a distant third in the standings.


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