According to Press Association Sport, two Chelsea fans have been stabbed in Instanbul ahead of the club’s Champions League match with Galatasaray on Wednesday.
“We are aware of the reports and at this stage we don’t have anything more to say,” a spokesperson told Press Association Sport. “We’re in touch with the club and Turkish authorities.”
Both supporters are believed to be alive with one victim reported to have been stabbed in the hand and the other the buttocks, with neither requiring hospital treatment.
Chelsea Football Club said they are aware of the incident and have urged caution to any travelling fans. In a message delivered over Twitter, the club asked supporters to avoid using Istanbul’s Metro due to safety issues.
According to the The Foreign Office, the incident is believed to have occurred at a bar around Taksim Square, in the heart of Istanbul’s commercial district. Istanbul has been on high alert over political and social unrest in recent days after rallies broke out against a controversial new Internet bill that would allow Turkish authorities to block web pages for privacy violations without a prior court decision. Civilian protests have led to riot police using tear gas, water cannons and rubber pellets.
The British Embassy in Ankara confirmed knowledge of the stabbings and said it was in discussions with the club and Turkish authorities as to a call of action.
This is not the first time English fans have been victims of violence around Taksim Square. In 2000 two Leeds supporters, Christopher Loftus and Kevin Speight, were stabbed to death before a UEFA Cup tie in 2000.
Earlier this week Chelsea offered advice to travelling fans via their website urging them to keep passports safe and to be aware of “pickpockets, petty theft and bag snatchers in crowded places.”