Turkish Cypriot lobby movement – letter to the President of UEFA

embargoed

The letter below has been sent to the President of UEFA, Michel Platini, and is the effort of the collective Turkish Cypriot NGO’s who have roundly condemned the behaviour of the Apoel Nicosia fans in their recent Champions League match with Chelsea. It is self-explanatory and has the backing of over 60 NGO’s representing a unified approach by the Turkish Cypriot lobby movement. We expect there to be more developments on this, as UEFA have charged APOEL under their relevant disciplinary code.

UEFA
09 October 2009
Attention Mr. Platini
Route de Genève 46
Case postale
CH-1260 Nyon 2
Switzerland

Dear Mr. Platini,

Re: complaint against racist displays at Apoel Nicosia v Chelsea Champions League match Wednesday 30 September 2009

We are writing to complain in the strongest possible terms about the racist messages that were permitted to be prominently displayed during the Champions League football match between Apoel Nicosia and Chelsea last Wednesday. The huge banners, written in six different languages and hung throughout the stadium, stated “CYPRUS IS GREEK” and were clearly visible during the entire match, which was broadcast live around the world. This whole scene was intimidating, insulting and racist to Turkish Cypriots living in Cyprus and around the world.

The sheer size of these banners and the places where they were displayed imply they were if not fully endorsed then at the very least tacitly approved by Apoel Nicosia officials. Given FIFA/UEFA’s usually high standards and fundamental rules of conduct, we ask how it was possible for Greek Cypriot stadium officials to allow these racist messages, and why UEFA officials did not act on the night or since? Both UEFA and your global regulating body FIFA are bound by your own anti-discrimination statutes, while broadcast regulations also do not to permit such offensive communications. Your own Stadium Rules for UEFA Euro 2008 categorically state:

“Prohibited Conduct – racist, xenophobic, extreme right-wing, national-socialist, sexist or political propaganda material”

These blatantly xenophobic messages about an already troubled island have again increased tensions, further polarizing the two sides. This in turn hampers the efforts of the two Cypriot leaders who are currently in the middle of sensitive political negotiations.

UEFA/FIFA owe Turkish Cypriots and the world of football a duty of care to stamp out racism wherever it occurs. We are therefore keen to understand when an investigation will be launched and what action will be taken against the culprits, as well as what measures you intend to take to prevent a repeat of such an incident? There is no room for this level of intolerance in football and we ask UEFA/FIFA to be firm about the actions it takes.

As civil society organisations representing thousands of Turkish Cypriots worldwide, we wish to inform you that we will continue to pursue this issue until we achieve a satisfactory resolution.

We look forward to hearing from you at your earliest convenience.

Yours faithfully,

Cetin Ramadan
ATCA (Association of Turkish Cypriots Abroad)
Fevzi Hussein
Chairperson, Embargoed!
Akmen Sitki
Chairperson, The Council of Turkish Cypriot Associations
Dourmoush Ibrahim Dourmoush
Chairperson, UK Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Commerce
Servet Hassan
UK Turkish Federation

In addition other groups are also endorsing this letter, all of whom are affiliates of the above mentioned groups.

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