England have confirmed they will not take up their ticket allocation for the UEFA EURO 2004™ qualifier away to Turkey in October.
Safety the priority
"This decision was reached after wide consultation and with a view to the safety and security of all fans, Turkish and English," the English Football Association's board of directors said in a statement today.
English FA officials indicated last week that they would not accept their allocation of 3,000 to 6,000 tickets for the game following the crowd trouble at the Group 7 match between the countries in Sunderland on 2 April. UEFA's Control and Disciplinary Body fined the FA €99,000 last week in response to the pitch incursions and racist chanting which marred that game.
The FA also urged England fans who might be tempted to travel to the match in Turkey on 11 October not to do so. Only a point separates the two sides at the top of the group, and their encounter in Istanbul could well decide which qualifies automatically for the finals in Portugal next June.
'Discourage fans from travelling'
"The FA cannot accept responsibility for English people who, despite advice, choose to travel to Turkey at this time," it said. "It calls on all relevant authorities, including the Home Office, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the police, UEFA, the Turkish FA and supporters' groups, to back its decision and to work together to discourage fans from travelling."
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