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Monday, May 27, 2024
Monday May 27, 2024
Monday May 27, 2024

Galatasaray vs Fenerbahce Turkish super cup clash cancelled in Saudi Arabia amid controversy

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Teams refuse to play as Saudi authorities deny permission to honor Turkey’s founder

In a stunning turn of events, the highly anticipated Turkish Super Cup final between Galatasaray and Fenerbahce, scheduled to take place in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, has been abruptly cancelled. The decision came after both teams adamantly refused to take the field, following the Saudi Arabian authorities’ refusal to allow them to honor Turkey’s founder, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.

The controversy unfolded just hours before kick-off when the Saudi authorities banned the teams from wearing t-shirts featuring Ataturk during their warm-ups. This move, coinciding with the 100th anniversary of the foundation of the secular Turkish Republic, triggered a heated dispute and raised questions about the autonomy of sports events held in foreign countries.

Despite reassurances from the Turkish Football Federation (TFF) that the Super Cup match would commence with the national anthem, Turkish flag, and commemorative events, both Galatasaray and Fenerbahce chose to stand in solidarity. Galatasaray’s vice-president, Erden Timur, emphasized, “We did what was necessary. We are returning to our country. No one can ignore our values,” while manager Okan Buruk affirmed, “The match will not be played; we are returning.”

The clash over the location of the game had been brewing for some time. In November, Fenerbahce proposed holding the match at the Ataturk Stadium in Istanbul or the Samsun 19 Mayıs Stadium, a decision unanimously accepted by the board. Samsun, a city of historical significance, holds sentimental value as the birthplace of Turkey’s fight for independence and the establishment of the Turkish Republic.

The cancellation of the Super Cup final in Saudi Arabia has reignited discussions about the role of politics in sports and the challenges of hosting international events that involve sensitive historical and cultural commemorations.

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