Maccabi Tel Aviv met by heavy police presence in Istanbul

September 14, 2011 15:43

Over 2,500 policemen welcomed Maccabi Tel Aviv at the Atatürk International Airport in Istanbul on Thursday afternoon ahead of the team's Europa League Group E opener against Besiktas JK on Thursday night.

The escalating crisis between the Israeli and Turkish governments has raised fears that local authorities will not be able to protect Maccabi players and fans at the Inönü Stadium, resulting in almost unprecedented security measures.

Maccabi will be escorted by police throughout its 48-hour stay in Turkey, but its management decided to leave nothing to chance and also hired a private security company, as well as requesting UEFA to send a representative to oversee safety matters.

Players have been told that they will only be allowed to leave the team hotel for training sessions and the match itself, and fans, who decided to follow the team despite the National Security Council's warnings, were requested to take off shirts identifying them as supporters of the yellow-and-blue.

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