The Turkish Super League top division has been put on hold for one week, after a gunman opened fire on the Fenerbahce team bus. The club had already said it would not play again until the perpetrator was caught.
The head of the Turkish Football Federation, Yildirim Demiroren, told a press conference on Monday that the decision to suspend play in the country’s top domestic soccer division was not taken lightly.
The decision followed Saturday’s shooting aimed at the team bus of title contenders Fenerbahce, which came after the club’s 5-1 win over Caykur Rizespor.
“We believe that the incident was a terrorist attack, targeting not only Fenerbahce but Turkish sports. We decided to postpone all league and cup games for a week,” Demiroren told reporters.
The club’s bus driver was taken to hospital after being wounded in the incident, no players were hurt as an attacker apparently fired several shots at the vehicle’s windshield. Fenerbahce, second in the league and just two points behind Istanbul cross-town rivals Galatasaray, had already called for action to find the shooter, calling the attack an “assassination attempt.”
“It is a point where football comes to an end since blood has been spilled. It is Fenerbahce’s opinion that the league must be postponed until this incident is cleared up and the feelings of Fenerbahce supporters are satisfied.”
The team bus was driving through the northeastern town of Trabzon after its Saturday win; domestic media highlighted the high tensions between Fenerbahce and Trabzonspor dating back to the 2010/11 season. Fenerbahce won that league campaign despite becoming implicated in a match-fixing scandal that led to a ban from taking part in the Champions League in the following season. Trabzonspor finished second in the division that season, with many fans arguing that they should have been named champions instead of the Istanbul club.
With eight games left to play in the current campaign, Fenerbahce’s next league match, at home to fourth-placed Buraspor next Monday, will now take place at a later date.