Football: Training site row leaves Turks furious at Irish
Friday 12 November 1999
Turkish officials, led by their coach, Mustapha Denizli, are angry over the training ground earmarked for their preparations ahead of tomorrow's first leg at Lansdowne Road. The Belfield site is on the opposite side of Dublin from Turkey's Portmarnock hotel base, entailing an hour-long trek through the city's heavy traffic.
Although they have found an alternative site closer to the hotel, the Turks are unhappy about basic facilities, claiming they expected a floodlit area and a perfect playing surface. And they have implied that Mick McCarthy's Irish squad will "pay for that" when they travel to Bursa for the second leg next Wednesday.
It is an alarming sequel to the last time the two sides met in Istanbul eight years ago when one Irish fan died, another was gang-raped and, during the match, others were showered by plastic bags full of urine. Bernard O'Byrne, the Football Association of Ireland's chief executive, said: "We are completely blameless for all this latest nonsense. It is a storm in a teacup.
"The Turks would not listen to our advice about accommodation in Dublin even though we tried to inform them immediately after the draw for the play-offs was made. They sent their own people to have a look, but they did not contact us and have ended up complaining about what they organised for themselves.
"In 20 years of international football I can't remember a single country coming here and complaining about our hospitality. In fact, practically everyone has said how good it is."
Memories are still fresh about Galatasaray's row with Chelsea before the recent Champions' League match at Stamford Bridge, when the visitors complained of rudeness and disrespect by their hosts.
The Galatasaray coach, Fatih Terim, threatened similar "revenge" for Chelsea's visit to Turkey, where the fans are notoriously volatile, but the threat to the Irish is seen to be a matter of forcing them to train many miles away from the stadium where the match is to be played - a venue which, in itself, requires a 10-hour trip via air, road and ferry.
McCarthy is trying not to let the political implications get to the Irish squad and says: "There are two important football matches to be played here and that's enough to think about. Turkey are too good a team to resort to any sort of gamesmanship, although I've heard stories about all sorts of things which will confront us out there. For our part, I don't believe there is a more sporting and fair-minded country than us in the world."
The Irish are boosted by the return of captain Roy Keane, who missed the last three European Championship qualifying games through injury, but Steve Staunton, who took over as captain in Croatia, Malta and Macedonia, is missing and Ian Harte, his possible deputy at left-back, is doubtful with back trouble. Lee Carsley is set to take over in midfield from Mark Kinsella, who is suspended. Kenny Cunningham and Denis Irwin have started training again after knee problems.
Latest in Sport
Louis van Gaal says he is inheriting a 'broken' Manchester United squad
Luckless Abou Diaby full of confidence as he attempts yet another Arsenal comeback
Manchester City's #AskJesus Twitter takeover quickly descends into chaos as Premier League champions are trolled relentlessly
Manchester United latest: Angel Di Maria move no closer as Juan Mata emerges as Louis van Gaal's favoured No 10 as prospect of signing
Arsenal transfer news: Versatile Calum Chambers is a 'gamble', admits Arsene Wenger as Arsenal spending passes £50m
- 1 Woman and two children killed by mob in riots over 'blasphemous' Facebook post in Pakistan
- 2 Christians: The world's most persecuted people
- 3 The secret report that helps Israelis to hide facts
- 4 Danish TV reporter is all business up top, all party down below
- 5 Denmark bans kosher and halal slaughter as minister says ‘animal rights come before religion’
The secret report that helps Israelis to hide facts
A day in the life of Vladimir Putin: The dictator in his labyrinth
Were 'Poor Doors' added to mixed developments so wealthy residents don't have to go in alongside social housing tenants?
A new Russian revolution: The cracks are starting to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Arizona execution lasts two hours as killer Joseph Wood left 'snorting and gasping' for air
Opponents of Israel's military operation in Gaza are the real enemies of Middle Eastern peace
£21804 - £31868 per annum: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Are you a qualified ...
£21804 - £31868 per annum: Randstad Education Chelmsford: We are urgently for ...
£21804 - £31868 per annum: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Are you an experienc...
£26000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly successful international media organ...