Turkish football’s comeback from a week-long suspension following a club president’s striking of a referee was marred by a violent brawl including flying kicks.
The fight between Bursaspor and Diyarbakirspor players on Tuesday involves two third-division teams with a history of racial problems.
After the final whistle of their 2-0 home loss, Bursaspor players were seen in viral photos rushing at their guests from Diyarbakir, a city in southeast Turkey that acts as the unofficial capital of the Kurdish minority in the country.
Security personnel were called in to assist in quelling the brawling between spectators in the stands and the violence occurring on the field.
After the players’ composure was recovered, the referee ended up showing three red cards to Diyarbakirspor players and two to the home team.
There was no formal statement from the Turkish Football Federation.
The game was one of many that were played on the first day after all games were halted due to an assault on a premier league referee last week.
The biggest club of the capital, Ankaragucu, was forced by the Turkish football association to play five home matches behind closed doors and pay a fine of 60,000 euros ($65,000) for the antics of their boss, Faruk Koca, who was banned for life.
After spending the night in the hospital, referee Halil Umut Meler released a statement in which he accused Koca of posing a threat to his life.
Fighting has frequently broken out between teams from Turkey’s Kurdish regions and their supporters during Turkish league games, particularly ones involving Bursaspor.
Following another violent incident earlier this year in which its fans yelled anti-Kurdish slogans during a match against Amed SK of Diyarbakir, Bursaspor played seven matches in an empty stadium.
Along with the suspension of a top-division match due to a contentious referee ruling, league play resumed on Tuesday.
Following a play that saw visiting Trabzonspor score a goal, the referee elected not to whistle for a foul, and Istanbulspor president Ecmel Faik Sarialioglu ordered his players off the field.
With Trabzonspor leading 2-1 in the second half, the game was called off.
According to league regulations, a team that is unable to complete a match is given a 3-0 loss immediately.