Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Turkiye's Dept. of Religious Affairs Objects to Zico's Comments

Turkiye's Dept. of Religious Affairs Objects to Zico's Comments
By Nathan L. Redd

Fenerbahce Manager Zico recently commented on the fans of Turkiye with his statement comparing futbol to the zealous passion of religion. When asked about how Turk fans compared with other fans he's encountered, Zico stated "Turks raise football to the level of religion." Zico's intentions were to highlight the passion and devotion of Turk fans rather than actually compare futbol to religion. However, Turkiye's Department of Religious Affairs took offense to his comments.

The department issued a statement recently saying "...comparing futbol to religion is gruesome. Extremity is harmful. Futbol is an important sport and should bring love and brotherhood instead of fight and extremity."

Anyone who has ever encountered a Fenerbahce vs. Galatasaray Derby knows the importance of the rivalry to Turk fans. On a smaller scale, even second division teams like Izmir's Altay have passionate, devoted fans who live and breathe Turk futbol. A scan through the fan pages of facebook will find many who list their religious preferences as "Fenerbahce" or any number of other Super Lig teams. Zico's comments were intended to show the commitment of Turk fans while warning that futbol is a beloved game, short of true faith or religion.

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