Football: Turkish earthquake puts Irish game in jeopardy

DOUBT WAS cast over the return leg of the Republic of Ireland's Euro 2000 play-off after an earthquake struck the region of Turkey where the match is due to be played next week.

The quake, which measured 5.7 on the Richter Scale, had its epicentre about 75 miles from Istanbul, near the area devastated by the more severe quake in August and close to Bursa, the venue for Wednesday's match.

Brendan McKenna, a spokesman for Football Association of Ireland, said: "We are trying to contact the Turkish FA to determine safety and we will also be contacting Uefa to discuss the matter."

More mundane problems were worrying the two camps earlier in the day. The FAI told the Turks they have only themselves to blame for the training ground row that has added an extra edge to tomorrow's match.

Turkish officials, led by their coach, Mustapha Denizli, are angry over their training ground ahead of the match at Lansdowne Road. The Belfield site is on the opposite side of Dublin from Turkey's hotel, 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 Turkey.

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."

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. 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."

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.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Technical Author / Multimedia Writer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This recognized leader in providing software s...

Recruitment Genius: Clinical Lead / RGN

£40000 - £42000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: IT Sales Consultant

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT support company has a n...

Recruitment Genius: Works Engineer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A works engineer is required in a progressive ...

Day In a Page

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent