Seven fans have been left injured after fighting erupted between Galatasaray and Besiktas supporters at a wheelchair basketball match in Germany.
As two of the main sports clubs in Istanbul, Galatasaray and Besiktas have a fierce and often violent rivalry. While this is mainly manifest at football matches between the two sides, it has been known to spill over into other sports.
With their wheelchair basketball teams contesting the prestigious IWBF Eurocup, there were a series of flare ups at the tournament. Held at a sports hall in the Saxon town of Zwickau, fan violence disrupted the match between the two clubs.
Around 60 supporters were involved in the brawl, with some bringing weapons including knives and baseball bats. While seven fans were left needing hospital treatment, police have confirmed that there are no life-threatening injuries.
A statement from local police read: "The game had to be abandoned and seven fans were taken to nearby hospitals. Six of them were released after receiving treatment." A bus containing 50 supporters left the sports hall shortly after the fighting broke out, but was stopped by police near the city of Erfurt and subjected to a brief search.
This is not the first time that a wheelchair basketball match between the two clubs has caused pandemonium. Similar violence erupted at a match in Istanbul back in 2012, where Turkish police fired teargas to disperse rioting fans.
While Galatasaray are banned from taking away fans to Besiktas for football and basketball matches – and vice versa – the ban doesn't apply to wheelchair basketball.
After the violence had abated, the tournament continued. Madrid-based CD Ilunion won the cup, while Galatasaray and Besiktas finished in joint-fifth place out of eight teams.
[HT: The Guardian]