ANKARA, TURKEY (AP) - Hundreds of soccer fans stormed the field and clashed with police after the Turkish league championship.
The mayhem followed a 0-0 game Saturday that gave Galatasaray the title over rival Fenerbahce.
Fenerbahce fans broke plastic chairs, throwing them and flares at police. Police used their shields to protect the players at Fenerbahce’s Sukru Saracoglu Stadium. Police used pepper spray to disperse the fans and evacuated the stadium as players fled to locker rooms.
Elsewhere in the country, a 29-year-old man wearing a Galatasaray jersey was stabbed in the abdomen in an attack by Fenerbahce fans, the state-run Anadolu Agency said. The man was reported in stable condition.
Fans also turned over two police vehicles and set them on fire in Istanbul’s Kadikoy district, the news agency added. Police and citizens quickly put out the fire, it added. The fans also turned over garbage bins and shattered shop windows, leaving streets littered with fist-sized stones, state television showed.
The fans at the league championship tossed chairs and other objects at a corridor leading to the locker rooms. The violence followed a tense game during which one player from each team drew a red card.
Sports channel Lig TV said some Fenerbahce fans also fought with police outside the stadium, throwing stones at a police vehicle with a water cannon.
Across the country, tens of thousands of Galatasaray fans took to the streets and honked car horns to celebrate their team’s 18th league title. The victory comes days after the Turkish soccer federation cleared all teams implicated in an alleged match-fixing scheme.
The federation punished some players and club officials but spared the clubs, including Fenerbahce, allegedly at the center of the scandal.
Turkey is bidding to host soccer’s 2020 European Championship and the 2020 Olympics in Istanbul. It’s unlikely Turkey would be granted both. The IOC would award the Olympics to Istanbul only on condition Turkey would not also stage the soccer championship in the same year. The government so far is supporting both bids.
Also bidding for the 2020 Olympics are Madrid; Tokyo; Doha, Qatar; and Baku, Azerbaijan. The IOC will announce the list of finalists May 23 and the host in September 2013. The deadline for Euro 2020 bids is May 15, and Turkey is the only candidate so far.