Uefa seeks to calm fears over Turkey tie

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The Independent Football

Europe's governing body, Uefa, yesterday moved to calm rising tensions between the English and Turkish football associations before next month's European Championship qualifier by summoning both organisations to a meeting at their Swiss headquarters.

The move comes after the president of the Turkish Football Federation was quoted making inflammatory comments about the match. Hanuk Ulusoy criticised England's manager, Sven Goran Eriksson, for warning fans their safety was in jeopardy if they defied advice and travelled to Istanbul for next month's game.

Ulusoy is quoted as saying: "I think Eriksson has forgotten the Heysel disaster. Of course he doesn't want England fans in Turkey because he doesn't want them to see a defeat. Anyway, he will be sacked from the England job after the game because he will have no credibility left and he will only be fit to manage the national team of Patagonia."

Uefa are understood to be angry and concerned by the developments after they had tried to engineer cooperation between the camps.

Mike Lee, the Uefa communications director, said yesterday: "The comments attributed to the president of the Turkish Football Federation are to say the least unfortunate.

"The spirit of cooperation that was established at our meeting with the two FAs earlier in the summer has to be maintained in the build-up to this match.

"It's important that any public statements are calm and appropriate. There's a lot more at stake than simply a football match and everybody involved should act to ensure the best possible atmosphere for the game."

"We will be contacting the Turkish FA president to seek an explanation and will ask both FAs to come together at Uefa's headquarters so that we can monitor progress and check that all of the preparations are in the right shape," he added.

The FA has asked fans not to travel to Istanbul - where a draw for England on 11 October should be enough to give them victory in the group - because of the history of trouble surrounding matches between teams representing the two countries.