It was supposed to be emotional, but not in that way! The Atatürk Stadium in Eskisehir was set on fire by furious supporters after their team’s relegation was settled.
Eskişehirspor are one of Turkey’s most popular clubs outsider Istanbul. Saturday saw their last game of this season, one in which they’ve been seriously underperforming.
It was also the very last game planned to be staged at the 64-year-old Atatürk Stadyumu, so a sell-out crowd of 15,000 was inevitable. Fans were expected to tear off pieces of equipment afterwards as souvenirs, most importantly the seats.
Unfortunately, the team lost against high-ranked (but unliked) IBB, which effectively settled relegation from the Süper Lig. In response, seats began flying towards the field as the game ended and a pitch invasion followed.
Some of those present set fire to the seats and other flammable objects, beginning a 2-hour long disorder inside the stadium. A bonfire of advertising boards was created in the centre of the field. Due to the throwing of various elements, several fans were injured and taken to hospitals.
With all the above said, vast majority of spectators left in an orderly manner and there were no reports of serious disorders outside the stadium. Cost of the damaged equipment is unclear and largely irrelevant as the stadium awaits demolition either way.
From the 2016/17 campaign onwards the team will be using their brand new, twice larger stadium in a different part of the city. But 3 months ahead of opening the progress could have been more encouraging.