The most important notes from Sunday's Beşiktaş-Fenerbahçe derby were that one player was sent off because of a head butt, another was not sent off despite fly-kicking the head butter, a coach squeezed an opponent player's chin during halftime, some fans ran onto the pitch in the final minutes of the game, substitutes attacked players on the field after the goal and the whole game was about everyone kicking, punching or swearing at each other. This is the second most important derby in Turkey, and the game between the first and third richest clubs in Turkey. The story of the game brilliantly depicts the current situation of Turkish football, and I am not even talking about what happened outside of the stadium.
I do not know why but I was hoping to watch an enjoyable game before the start, maybe because the fans of both teams were able to watch the game together in the stadium for the first time in a while. Nevertheless, fans did more harm than good throughout the game, and all I heard during the 90 minutes was their sadistic fantasies about the fans of the rival team. This is truly frustrating because since the 1980s Turkish stadiums have become a battlefield for the fans, an area for them to challenge each other's' level of vandalism, and as a result no visiting fans were allowed in home stadiums in recent years. As if to show the righteousness of the regulation, fans behaved in an unacceptable way Sunday night, fueling the tension on the pitch.
However, it also seemed like the players were already fueled up for a gang fight before the game and they acted before the fans, and tried to provoke each other at every possible occasion. Robin Van Persie, a very cunning player, provoked both the fans and the Beşiktaş players throughout the first half, eventually kicking Beşiktaş defender Dusko Tosic, which was definitely a red card, leading to Tosic headbutting him, which was a fair red card. My regular readers will know, I never speak about refereeing decisions, and I still believe football columnists should not put refereeing at the center of their work. But this piece is not about football, because the game was not about football, thanks to everyone who fueled the tension and the referee, Ali Palabıyık, who should have acted before to stop this ridiculous series of events. That is why he is rightly being roasted by almost everyone in the media.
I suggested several ways of getting rid of this illogical and irresponsible violence in and outside of the stadiums after the bombings in Istanbul last December. One of the most effective ways to overcome this issue is to change the language chairmen and executives use, which is one of the sources of hate in Turkish football nowadays. If chairmen stopped acting like gang leaders, threatening people whenever they are in trouble, both fans and players would be less violent in the stadiums. Added to that, refereeing would be much easier in a peaceful atmosphere, which chairmen care about more than anything. In order to stop this shameful events from happening again, we have to rebuild the language of Turkish football all over again.
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