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Turkish sports minister slams punishment

TURKEY’S sports minister accused FIFA of leaning too heavily on president Sepp Blatter’s version of events and vowed to challenge the severe punishment doled out after violence marred November’s World Cup play-off against Switzerland.

Following a disciplinary hearing, FIFA have ordered Turkey to play their next six competitive matches behind closed doors and on neutral ground.

Newcastle midfielder Emre Belozoglu and former Aston Villa defender Alpay Ozalan, now at Cologne, have each been banned for six matches for their part in the clashes in Istanbul on November 6.

Turkey lost the play-off and after the final whistle players and officials were involved in a mass brawl on the pitch and in the tunnel.

But sports minister Mehmet Ali Sahin insisted FIFA’s punishment was out of proportion to the damage caused.
"I find this decision unacceptable," he declared.

"This is simply the approval of what Sepp Blatter said right after the game without even looking at the observer and referee reports on the game.

"That’s why I think this decision is more political than sporting."

The day after the match, Blatter accused Turkey of forcing Switzerland to "steal from the pitch like thieves" rather than be allowed to celebrate their triumph of reaching the World Cup finals.

"Fair play was trodden underfoot in Istanbul. We will take severe measures," said Blatter in November.

FIFA’s punishment was not entirely one-sided.

Switzerland international Benjamin Huggel was also banned for six matches after being filmed kicking out at Turkey assistant coach Mehmet Ozdilek, who has himself been banned from all football-related activity for a year.

In terms of international teams, the sanctions are unprecedented.

 

Turkish sports minister slams punishment

TURKEY’S sports minister accused FIFA of leaning too heavily on president Sepp Blatter’s version of events and vowed to challenge the severe punishment doled out after violence marred November’s World Cup play-off against Switzerland.

Following a disciplinary hearing, FIFA have ordered Turkey to play their next six competitive matches behind closed doors and on neutral ground.

Newcastle midfielder Emre Belozoglu and former Aston Villa defender Alpay Ozalan, now at Cologne, have each been banned for six matches for their part in the clashes in Istanbul on November 6.

Turkey lost the play-off and after the final whistle players and officials were involved in a mass brawl on the pitch and in the tunnel.

But sports minister Mehmet Ali Sahin insisted FIFA’s punishment was out of proportion to the damage caused.
"I find this decision unacceptable," he declared.

"This is simply the approval of what Sepp Blatter said right after the game without even looking at the observer and referee reports on the game.

"That’s why I think this decision is more political than sporting."

The day after the match, Blatter accused Turkey of forcing Switzerland to "steal from the pitch like thieves" rather than be allowed to celebrate their triumph of reaching the World Cup finals.

"Fair play was trodden underfoot in Istanbul. We will take severe measures," said Blatter in November.

FIFA’s punishment was not entirely one-sided.

Switzerland international Benjamin Huggel was also banned for six matches after being filmed kicking out at Turkey assistant coach Mehmet Ozdilek, who has himself been banned from all football-related activity for a year.

In terms of international teams, the sanctions are unprecedented.