The Turkish Super Cup final between Galatasaray and Fenerbahce, originally set to take place in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, was abruptly canceled due to a dispute over players’ jerseys. The Turkish Football Federation (TFF) and the teams, having returned to Istanbul after the postponement, cited “problems” in the event’s organisation as the reason for the decision. Reports from Turkish media, including Haberturk television, revealed that players from both clubs intended to wear T-shirts featuring an image of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the revered founder of modern Turkey, during the prematch warm-up. However, Saudi organisers did not authorise this, leading to the teams’ refusal to play at the King Saud University venue.
Turkish media also highlighted that Saudi authorities prohibited banners with political slogans and Ataturk T-shirts from being displayed before the match, including those with Ataturk’s famous slogan, “peace at home, peace in the world.” The organisers claimed that the cancellation resulted from the teams not adhering to match regulations, emphasising the importance of presenting the sport without any slogans beyond its scope. The statement also mentioned a consensus with the Turkish Football Federation on adhering to international football rules and regulations, expressing disappointment that the agreement was not followed, resulting in the match’s nonoccurrence.
The joint decision to postpone the 2023 Super Cup was announced in a statement by the TFF and the clubs, thanking the host country’s football federation and relevant institutions for their efforts. The statement did not specify when or where the rescheduled final would take place. Despite the cancellation, fans at Istanbul and Sabiha Gokcen airports showed support for their teams, with hundreds of Galatasaray and Fenerbahce supporters cheering, waving Turkish flags, and carrying images of Ataturk. The controversy surrounding the final adds to a tumultuous month for Turkish football, marked by the arrest of Ankaragucu club president Faruk Koca for assaulting a referee, leading to the suspension of the Turkish league.