Blinded football fan seeks retribution

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The Independent Online
AN ENGLAND football supporter, Mark Raven, yesterday demanded that Turkish soccer authorities be made to pay for the missile-throwing that cost him the sight of his right eye at last week's World Cup qualifier in Izmir.

Mr Raven, 24, a university worker, is back home in Brighton after emergency surgery in a Turkish hospital failed to save the eye, which had been sliced in half by a coin.

He said: 'I am angry and bitter about what happened, especially because it was all so avoidable. The police just stood by and watched as the missiles rained down on us. The Turkish fans threw anything they could - rusty bolts, bits of metal and concrete, and coin after coin.

'We were segregated, but nothing was done about the throwing. It was obvious before the kick-off that we were not out of the range of their supporters and their missiles.' Mr Raven, struck as the teams emerged for the second half with England leading 2-0, accepts that the person responsible will never be identified. But he said: 'I want the person in the Turkish soccer authorities who arranged that match to be punished.'

The Football Supporters' Association is backing his call for action and is asking England supporters who were at the game to write to Fifa, the world governing body, with their own accounts. Fifa is to hold an inquiry and will receive two reports from the Football Association. Steve Beauchampe, international officer of the FSA, said: 'From the accounts we have heard, the policing and crowd control were pretty much non-existent, and the behaviour of the Turkish fans was totally unacceptable. We want to make sure this sort of thing doesn't happen again.'