International

Fenerbahce return after attack

2015-04-16 13:51
(File)

Istanbul - Turkish top-flight football team Fenerbahce will return to the pitch on Thursday, after an almost two week absence following the gun attack on their team bus earlier this month.

Fenerbahce had refused to play after the attack on April 4 in the Black Sea region of Turkey and the Turkish Super Lig was also suspended by one week.

The club had said it would not play until the crime was solved. But although investigators are still working on the case, the club's directors said Fenerbahce had agreed to play after receiving security assurances from the government.

"Fenerbahce's directors have decided unanimously that the club should compete after receiving assurances from the highest competent authorities," the club said in a statement.

Fenerbahce are due Thursday to host Mersin at home in the second leg of a Turkish Cup tie that the Istanbul giants already lead 2-1.

After its suspension, the Super Lig also gets back underway on Friday with Gaziantepspor hosting Konyaspor before a round of weekend matches.

Fenerbahce will play its next Super Lig match on Monday against Bursaspor.

While the gun attack is still unresolved, the key to unlocking the situation appears to have been a rare meeting held late Sunday by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan with the captains of all the Super Lig clubs.

Two people were arrested in the aftermath of the attack but were later released and it remains unclear at what stage the investigation is at now.

The Fenerbahce bus was fired on, injuring the driver, as the club returned from a match in the Black Sea city of Rize.

The attack was another blow to the image of Turkish football which has been tarnished this season by crowd trouble, violent outbursts by players and thin attendances blamed on a controversial fan pass system.

Shortly after the attack, one of Fenerbahce's biggest stars, the Dutchman Dirk Kuyt, announced he would be going back to the Netherlands at the end of the season.

However he insisted he had taken the decision before the gun attack on the team bus.

Despite the problems, the Super Lig is heading to a thrilling conclusion to the season with leaders Galatasaray, second placed Fenerbahce and third-placed Besiktas all in with a shout for the title.

Read more on:    fenerbahce  |  soccer
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