Supporter violence in Turkey sank to an all-time low this weekend when police were forced to use tear gas to disperse brawling fans during a wheelchair basketball game between bitter rivals Galatasary and Besiktas.
The match at the Ahmet Comert Sports Hall in Istanbul had already been delayed for half an hour before the start following a court invasion.
But the main bout of violence happened six minutes from the end of the second quarter when Galatasaray were leading 31-26.
Players and staff tried to calm their fans down but their pleas went unheard as both sets of supporters continued to throw missiles at each other and then took the row to the sidelines where wheelchairs were wrecked and other equipment destroyed.
As some players made a sharp exit from the court others could only watch in disbelief. Police managed to disperse the brawling fans but the hooliganism then spread to the hallways of the arena.
Several players and supporters were reportedly hurt in the chaos. The following day at least ten fans were arrested after police reviewed the footage.
Fans of three rival Istanbul clubs – Galatasaray, Besiktas and Fenerbahce – are not allowed to attend away games between these clubs at soccer and basketball games, but the regulation doesn’t apply to other sports. The ban is now likely to cover wheelchair basketball.
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