Besiktas punished as police target fans

The Turkish Interior Minister says police have raided homes and detained 72 football fans suspected of involvement in blackmail, threats and other crimes.

Muammer Guler says fans of Fenerbahce, Galatasaray and Besiktas are suspected of blackmailing their clubs with threats of violence at games that would cause the teams to receive fines or other penalties.

Guler says the detained fans are suspected of 16 criminal acts that also include armed threats, raiding venues and attacking security officials.

The raid comes the day after Besiktas was ordered to play four games behind closed doors after fans ran onto the field during a weekend match against Galatasaray.

Beşiktaş coach Slaven Bilic, the former Croatian national team coach, has also been hit with a three-game touchline ban for his outburst towards the officials.

Beşiktaş fans invaded the pitch in stoppage time with Galatasaray leading 2-1. The referee was forced to take both sets of players off the field and abandoned the match. Known as the Black Eagles, Besiktas had won all four of previous league matches and were chasing a fifth in front of a record 76,000 crowd.

In addition to the ban, Beşiktaş were ordered to pay TL 70,000 (25,000 euros) for violating security rules by failing to have enough security guards at the stadium and also for allowing too many fans into the ground.

Meanwhile, Youth and Sports Minister Suat Kılıç announced a four-step plan to combat football hooliganism, making it clear that the law titled Law to Prevent Violence and Disorder in Sports, which came into effect in 2011, would be comprehensively implemented.

The most significant measure of the plan is the re-introduction of police officers to oversee the security at games, instead of private security.

“We have seen the inadequacy of private security again at Sunday’s derby,” Kılıç said. “For that reason, replacing private security with the police will be an important step toward the solution. We aim to tackling hooliganism.”

Other steps included the use of CCTV footage to identify fans who were involved in crowd trouble and the e-ticket system. According to the e-ticket ruling, fans will only be able to buy and use games tickets by providing their personal ID number.

The ministry planned to launch the project in six stadiums and to fully launch it at the start of the new year.