Thousands of football fans were left wanting when the Turkish Super Cup was postponed 75 minutes after its scheduled kick-off time in Saudi Arabia.
Galatasaray and Fenerbahçe were due to face one another at the Al-Awwal Stadium in Turkey’s Community Shield equivalent, with the former winning the Süper Lig and the latter the Turkish Cup in 2022/23.
With the Turkish Football Federation and the clubs blaming “problems in organising,” there was a dispute about the teams wearing t-shirts and holding banners celebrating the country’s first president, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, on the 100th anniversary of the foundation of the Republic of Türkiye.
The dispute continued well after the scheduled 17:45 GMT kick-off and eventually caused the game to be postponed at 19:00, with thousands of fans sitting inside the stadium.
Ataturk implemented a series of reforms to modernise the country from 1923-1938. They included measures to emancipate women, abolish all Islamic institutions and introduce Western legal codes, dress, calendar and alphabet, replacing the Arabic script with a Latin one.
Banners bearing Ataturk’s words “Peace at home, peace in the world,” were banned, with match organisers the Riyadh Season saying: “We were looking forward to holding the match on time in accordance with the international soccer rules and regulations that require the sport to be presented without any slogans outside its scope… this was discussed with the Turkish federation.
“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.”
A Turkish Football Federation statement read: “We, together with our clubs, have collectively decided on this delay. We express our gratitude to the football federation of the host country and the relevant institutions for their efforts in organising the Super Cup so far.”
Both teams returned to Turkey on Saturday.
Turkish club president only wanted to ‘spit in face’ of referee he hospitalised – with all football in Turkey stopped ‘indefinitely’
This pre-match ritual is UNBELIEVABLE: Dean Saunders tells FourFourTwo what he had to do before a game in Turkey
Eric Bailly: Ex-Manchester United defender finds new club after troubled Turkey spell