Football: United fans take their case to Major: Uefa inquiry into Turkish security continues as six English fans still languish in jail while Manchester's magician gets off lightly

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The Independent Online
RENE EBERLE, the head of Uefa's disciplinary department, said yesterday that Galatasaray may face further punishment over allegations by Manchester United fans that they were maltreated by Turkish police during the European Cup tie at Galatasaray on 3 November.

The Istanbul club have been fined pounds 2,260 for 'insufficient security' at the game but Eberle said that Uefa had 'reserved the right to take further action over fans' complaints'. He will personally supervise security at the Ali Sami Yen stadium on 24 November when the Turks play Barcelona in the Champions' League opening round.

Eberle's comments add weight to a growing campaign for action. The Football Supporters' Association and branches of United supporters' clubs have joined forces with Tom Pendry, the Shadow Minister for Sport, to urge Prime Minister John Major and the Foreign Office to expedite the release of the six United fans currently in jail in Istanbul accused of damaging a hotel bar, a charge they deny. Another 150 fans, rounded up and flown out following the incident, are seeking to have the 'deportee' stamp erased from their passports - one United-supporting stockbroker was unable to attend a business meeting in Zurich this week because of it because of this 'undesirability'.

Some of the 40 ticket-holders refused entry to the stadium are agitating for compensation. Jonathan Shine, a 43-year-old accountant denied access, said: 'We showed our tickets but they refused to let us in and then hit us over the knees so we went and watched the game in a cafe.' United wrote to one fan, saying: 'Our intention as a club is to request compensation from Galatasaray for supporters with valid tickets who could not gain entry'. The Turkish authorities insist they were simply responding to trouble-makers.

Eberle is keeping an open mind. 'We have received complaints from United about the fans' treatment and we have reserved the right to take further action,' he said. 'We are examining the complaints about the clashes between fans and police. I will be in Istanbul in 10 days' time to investigate the situation with the Turkish police. We want to ensure the security at the match (against Barcelona). Security will definitely improve as the match will be under the direct auspices of Uefa.'

Barcelona and the two other clubs in Group A, Spartak Moscow and Monaco, have received faxes from the FSA warning them of the potential hazards their followers face in Istanbul and listing the injustices allegedly perpetrated against them.

Pendry's letter to John Major urges him 'to call the Turkish Prime Minister' and Uefa because 'eye-witness accounts (of the hotel incident) indicate that many of those arrested had little part in any criminal behaiour and even the chief liaison officer present said they had been found 'guilty by association'.'

A spokesman for No 10, which has still to reply to Pendry, said yesterday that the Foreign Office was dealing with matters. 'We are looking into the way these people were treated,' an FO spokesman said. 'Those standing trial on 30 November have no complaints with their jail. They are angry over tabloid coverage as they are not in a 'hell-hole'. Those with 'deportee' in their passports can apply for a new passport.'

The fans are sceptical of the FO's impact and today families of the six will meet Stephen Jakobi, solicitor for the convicted heroin smuggler Karyn Smith, to enlist his support.

Joe Lovejoy, Football Diary, page 26

FA Cup preview, page 27