England fans welcome, declare Turkish police

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The Independent Football

The build-up to England's Euro 2004 qualifier with Turkey next month has been clouded by conflicting messages from the Turkish authorities.

The Football Association has warned England fans not to travel to the match in Istanbul on 11 October. However, Turkish police said yesterday that England fans will be welcome. The police in Istanbul also say they have had no intelligence from their British counterparts about the numbers of England fans who might travel to the game, and claim they have not had any clear indication from the Turkish FA about whether English fans who try to get into the match should be allowed in.

Fears of trouble were raised after rioting in the aftermath of the Istanbul derby on Sunday. Galatasaray fans began throwing missiles after they were denied a late penalty against Fenerbahce in a 2-2 draw at the Olympic Stadium. On the final whistle riot police had to form a protective shield around the referee. The venue for October's game has a smaller gap between the pitch and the crowd than the Olympic Stadium.