Istanbul, Dec 30 (EFE).- Several football clubs in Turkey on Saturday praised Galatasaray’s and Fenerbahce’s decision not to play the Turkish Super Cup match in Saudi Arabia.
The game between last season’s Turkish league champions and cup winners, respectively, in Riyadh on Friday night was suddenly canceled after Saudi authorities blocked the teams from displaying images and slogans of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of the Turkish Republic in 1923, during the warm-up.
Saudi officials also prohibited the teams from displaying a banner celebrating 100 years of the Turkish Republic with the slogan coined by Atatürk: “Peace at home, peace in the world”.
Both clubs and the Turkish Football Federation (TFF) issued a statement saying the match would be postponed.
The teams returned Friday night to Istanbul, where they were greeted at dawn at the airport as heroes by a crowd of fans waving Turkish flags and holding portraits of Atatürk.
Several clubs, including Besiktas, the two clubs’ fiercest rivals, have offered their own stadiums to play the match. Others, such as Trabzonspor, have shared images of Atatürk on their social media channels in a show of support.
In a statement, the organizer of the match, the Riyadh Season, said it had discussed “the international soccer rules and regulations that require the sport to be presented without any slogans outside its scope” in advance with the TFF.
“Despite this agreement, it was unfortunate that the two teams did not adhere to what had been agreed upon, which led to the match not being held,” the organizers said. EFE