England fans warned to stay away from Istanbul clash

The Foreign Office has today strongly advised England fans not to travel to this weekend's Euro 2004 qualifier against Turkey in Istanbul.

The advice follows up on Uefa's decision to ban England fans from travelling to Turkey after serious clashes involving both sets of fans at the first leg tie in Sunderland last April.

Whilst England fans will be aware of the official advice to stay away from the match, many have already pre-paid for flights and hotel rooms for the clash.

Turkish authorities have put in place a number of measures to prevent English fans from getting into the ground. Also, British nationals have been warned that if they travel to Turkey with the intention of watching the match, they will be refused permission to enter the country.

Baroness Symons, Foreign Office Minister for Consular Affairs, said: "We strongly urge any England supporters who might be considering travelling to England's Euro 2004 qualifier against Turkey in Istanbul on 11 October not to do so for safety reasons.

"We understand that every possible measure will be taken by the host authorities to prevent English fans from gaining access to the stadium. Only on presentation of a valid Turkish ID card and match ticket will supporters be allowed to enter the ground. Any English fan who attempts to breach the cordon or is spotted in the ground will be removed to a secure holding area."

The FA released a statement at the end of September – shortly after Uefa's decision to place restrictions on the fixture – sympathising with fans, but agreed that the ban was "in the interests of the game".

The FA statement read: "Please do not put our country in a position where our players' and coaches' efforts are undermined by problems off the pitch. Please ensure we do not have to face the shame and indignity of expulsion from a major tournament. On behalf of The FA and all of the England players and coaches, please respect our request for England fans not travel to Istanbul."


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