Basketball: Galatasaray and Red Star given crowd bans after fan death

Red Star Belgrade supporters hold a picture of 25-year-old Marko Ivkovic, stabbed to death in Istanbul before an Euroleague match with Galatasaray on Friday, during a protest near the Turkish embassy in Belgrade on Nov 22, 2014. Galatasaray and
Red Star Belgrade supporters hold a picture of 25-year-old Marko Ivkovic, stabbed to death in Istanbul before an Euroleague match with Galatasaray on Friday, during a protest near the Turkish embassy in Belgrade on Nov 22, 2014. Galatasaray and Red Star Belgrade have been handed crowd bans after a Serbian fan was stabbed to death in violence last month ahead of their Euroleague basketball match in Istanbul, Europe's elite club competition said on Wednesday. -- PHOTO: AFP

BELGRADE (REUTERS) - Galatasaray and Red Star Belgrade have been handed crowd bans after a Serbian fan was stabbed to death in violence last month ahead of their Euroleague basketball match in Istanbul, Europe's elite club competition said on Wednesday.

Galatasaray, who won the match 110-103 in double overtime in their Abdi Ikpeci Arena, will play the next three home games behind closed doors and were fined 100,000 euros (S$163,000).

Red Star, whose 25-year old fan Marko Ivkovic died in the fighting, will serve a one-match ban and must pay a fine of 50,000 euros.

"The sanctions are based on infractions of the competition by-laws that all teams are aware of and obliged to fulfil," Euroleague said on its website (www.euroleague.net).

The trouble in Istanbul erupted after several hundred visiting Red Star fans arrived in front of the venue and were banned from entering.

Rival fans clashed before and after Turkish police moved in with tear gas to quell the violence and Ivkovic died in hospital after doctors battled to save his life.

Red Star president Nebojsa Covic was furious and said the Serbian side would appeal, adding he was convinced the two sides would have an incident-free double-header if they met in the second group stage of the competition.

"We will certainly appeal this shameful verdict because I haven't seen bigger stupidity or injustice in my entire life," he told a news conference. "I have no problem with playing against Galatasaray again and can't wait to visit Istanbul if it happens.

"I am sure they won't make the same mistake again and while I would not fear for my safety in Istanbul, I am also sure they would be completely safe in Belgrade."

Red Star have qualified for the Top 16, the second group stage featuring two sections of eight teams, with two games to spare in the preliminary phase.

Galatasaray, who visit Lithuanians Neptunas Klaipeda later on Wednesday, need to win their remaining two games to advance.