UEFA said Thursday it would launch a disciplinary investigation against Turkey’s Fenerbahce over a group of fans chanting in the name of Russian President Vladimir Putin after he conceded a goal at home to Dynamo Kyiv in a Champions League qualifier.
Fenerbahce’s hopes of competing in the Champions League this season were dashed with a 2-1 extra-time loss to Kyiv in their second round qualifying match in Istanbul on Wednesday.
Vitaly Boyalsky put the Ukrainian side ahead in the 57th minute, shortly after sending off Fenerbahce midfielder Ismail Yuksek in a tense match.
The match ended 1-1 after 90 minutes, but Kyiv overthrew Fenerbahce, with Oleksandr Karavaev winning in the 114th minute.
Buyalskyi’s celebration after scoring was met with chants of “Vladimir Putin” by many Fenerbahce fans, sparking an online backlash condemning Istanbul team fans and calling on UEFA to take action against the club.
UEFA said that “the Ethics and Discipline Inspector will conduct a disciplinary investigation into the alleged misconduct of Fenerbahce fans” at the Dynamo Kyiv match, adding that more information would be provided at a later time.
Vasyl Bodnar, Ukraine’s ambassador to Ankara, said on Twitter he was saddened by the cheers but thanked those who stood against the “inappropriate behavior” of the fans. “Football is a fair game,” he said. “Dynamo Kyiv was stronger yesterday.”
Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, calling it a special military operation to rid Ukraine of fascists, an assertion that the Ukrainian government and its Western allies said was an unfounded excuse for an unprovoked war.
Bodnar added that it was “very sad” to hear the reaction of Fenerbahce fans at a time when civilians in Ukraine were dying in the Russian attacks on the country.
The Russian embassy declined to comment.
Fenerbahce said in a statement on Thursday that the chants of “some” of the fans did not represent the club, its position or opinions, adding that it stood firmly against the war in Ukraine.
Fenerbahce said the chanting lasted for 20 seconds, prompted by the “exaggerated” celebrations of some Kyiv players after the goal.
“Whatever the reason, we as Fenerbahce Sports Club categorically reject the reactions coming from parts of our stands,” the club said, adding that it was unfair to blame all its fans or the club for an act that “never represents”. rate us.”
NATO member Turkey shares a maritime border with Ukraine and Russia in the Black Sea and has good relations with both. She was trying to mediate the war, and last week she helped broker an agreement between the warring parties to resume grain exports in Kyiv.
Ankara has repeatedly said that it will not abandon its relations with either country for strategic and commercial reasons, but has criticized the Russian invasion and called on Moscow to stop the conflict. It also provided military support to Kyiv and hosted peace talks.