MENA Sports Wrap: Moroccan player whipped by angry Saudi fan

MENA Sports Wrap: Moroccan player whipped by angry Saudi fan
There were heated exchanges on the pitch in the UAE and Turkey this week, with one Saudi football fan taking a 'whip' to an Al-Ittihad player.
4 min read
12 April, 2024
There has been another thrilling week of football in the MENA region [Getty]

Chaos, fights, and a surprise winner of a UAE football cup marked this week's Middle East sporting action.

Turkish club Fenerbahce's U-19 side held a mid-match protest against their rivals Galatasaray while a fan and player were involved in a fracas in the Saudi Super Cup.

Meanwhile, Fleetwood United also picked up silverware - in the UAE.

Chaos again, on Tukey's football pitches

Players from the U-19 Turkish club Fenerbahce walked off the pitch one minute into the Super Cup Final game against fellow Istanbul rival Galatasaray on Sunday.

The protest was staged after Galatasaray scored an early goal in the game and in a bid to protest alleged unfavourable treatment by Turkish football authorities.

Local media said the club had requested the game be postponed ahead of their Europa Conference League quarter-final first-leg on Thursday against Olympiakos – which was refused.

Additionally, Turkish media reported ahead of the game they planned to forfeit the match.

Argentinian forward Mauro Icardi scored the opening goal before the Fenerbahce players left the field before the game could resume, drawing whistles and boos from fans.

Galatasaray was subsequently declared the winner of the match, and thus, of the Turkish Super Cup.

A number of other incidents are likely to have prompted Fenerbahce’s decision to protest and walk off the pitch.

In March, Fenerbahce had considered withdrawing from the Turkish Super Lig in protest after their players were attacked by Trabzonspor fans during a match. Two Fenerbahce players received a one-match suspension following the results.

Furthermore, the club also demanded that a foreign referee take charge citing unfavourable treatment from Turkish referees.

Yildirim Ali Koc, Fenerbahce’s president, said it’s time for “a rest in Turkish football” in a statement on the team’s website, where he stated alleged injustices taking place over the years.

The game was reportedly due to be played in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia in December but was called off due to Sthe Gulf country’s disapproval  of homage dedicated to the founder of the Turkish Republic, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.

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Fleetwood United win Dubai Second Division

English League One side Fleetwood Town FC's sister side recently picked up silverware – in the United Arab Emirates.

Fleetwood United, based in the port town of Jebel Ali southwest of Dubai, won the UAE Second Division, finishing five points clear of Al-Dhahirah and winning promotion to the prestigious second tier of the Emirates football league system.

The club was captained to league glory by former Derby County and English Premier League side Fulham midfielder Ben Pringle.

Pringle, aged 35, moved to Fleetwood United as a player-coach last summer from Altrincham FC, who play in the semi-professional English National League.

Fleetwood United are known to fans as the Dubai Cods in reference to their English counterpart's nickname, the Cod Army, owing to Fleetwood being a famous fishing port in Lancashire.

United’s presence in Dubai was part of a plan by former Fleetwood Town chairman Andrew Pilley’s attempt to turn the football club and expand the club into the Middle East, where it would scout local youth in Dubai and across the Emirates.

Since the club was established in 2021 in the UAE Third Division, it has won back-to-back promotions, though its squad is exclusively comprised of non-Emirati footballers.

Al-Ittihad player subject to thrashing after cup defeat

A player of Jeddah side Al-Ittihad was shockingly whipped by a fan after the side crashed out of the Saudi Super Cup on Thursday night.

Moroccan star Abderrazak Hamdallah approached the stands after Al-Ittihad's 4-1 defeat to Al-Hilal in Abu Dhabi and appears to be involved in a heated discussion with the crowd.

The player then throws water at one of the supporters, who then takes out what appears to be a whip to strike Hamdallah, who tries to reach the fan.

Players, officials and stewards then separate the two men, but the incident created huge uproar in the kingdom.

On a lighter note, long-time injured Brazilian and Al-Hilal star Neymar Jr. collected a winners medal despite not playing a minute of the final.

He posted a video showing-off his Saudi Super Cup prize and joking about his contribution to the game.

"Just like in school, your group does the work & you collect the grade," he quipped.