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EFEA Fines Turkey for Crowd Trouble

July 4, 2003

NYON, Switzerland (AP) _ European soccer’s governing body on Friday fined the Turkish soccer association $37,000 for lack of security at a Euro 2004 qualifying match, but stopped short of ordering the Turks to play their next match in an empty stadium.

During a qualifier against Macedonia in Istanbul on June 11, fans threw objects onto the field during play and Turkish riot police had to hold up shields to protect Macedonian players taking corner kicks.

UEFA also fined the Macedonian Football Association $7,400 for its players’ actions during the game. Macedonian players unfurled a national flag following a goal that put their team ahead, provoking the local crowd. The Turkish fans responded with a barrage of objects, one of which struck Macedonia midfielder Sasko Lazarevski on the head.

Turkey won the game 3-2.

Turkey could have been forced to play its next home international match behind closed doors as punishment, but UEFA decided a fine was enough. It said it had taken into account the Turkish Football Association’s recent disciplinary record in making its decision.

Turkey, which is in first place in its qualifying group, has only one home game left in the competition _ a key game against second-place England on Oct. 11.

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