Fenerbahçe under UEFA probe over pro-Putin chants during Dynamo Kyiv game
UEFA has launched a disciplinary investigation against Turkish football team Fenerbahçe, after the Istanbul club’s fans chanted in favour of Russian President Vladimir Putin during a Champions League match against Ukraine's Dynamo Kyiv, the Daily Mirror reported on Thursday.
An ethics and disciplinary inspector has been appointed to investigate "alleged misbehaviour of Fenerbahçe supporters," it cited the governing body as saying.
Fenerbahçe fans were heard singing the Russian leader's name during Champions League qualifier to the Ukrainian side in Istanbul on Wednesday, it said. The Ukrainian club won 2-1 in extra time.
The chants followed Dynamo midfielder Vitaliy Buyalskyi celebrating a lead he gave to his side by making an eagle gesture with his hands, the newspaper said. The eagle is the symbol Beşiktaş, an arch-rival of Fenerbahce.
Fenerbahçe has condemned the fans’ behaviour, saying it "does not accept the reaction that arises from some of our stands" and their "stance [is] that sports and politics should always be kept separate from each other," the Mirror said.
Former Turkish national coach and current Dinamo head coach Mircea Lucescu said that UEFA "cannot accept the behaviour of the [Fenerbahce] fans and described the chants as "a pity" while Putin's army continue to commit atrocities across Ukraine.’’
Turkey, a maritime neighbour to Russia and Ukraine, maintains good ties with both countries and has stepped up as mediator since the beginning of the war in February. Ankara has criticized the Russian invasion of Ukraine and sold drones to Kyiv despite Russian objectives. But Ankara also opposes Western sanctions against Moscow and has stopped short of accusing either country over the conflict, even amid reports of war crimes in parts of Ukraine.