‘Thank you Madiba’ shirt lands Drogba in trouble

2013-12-10 13:39

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Ivory Coast soccer legend Didier Drogba, and his Ivorian national team-mate Emmanuel Eboué, face disciplinary hearings before the Turkish Football Federation’s discipline committee for bringing politics into football.

This comes after Drogba and Eboué, who both play for top Turkish side Galatasaray, removed their shirts to reveal vests bearing the slogan “Thank you Madiba” after a Turkish Super League match against SB Elazigspor on Friday.

Turkish soccer website Sporx first reported that the two could be summoned by the association’s Professional Soccer Discipline Committee for contravening regulations surrounding sport and politics.

A defiant Drogba took to social networking site Instagram over the weekend, saying: “I did it. I will do it again.”

The disciplinary committee is expected to meet either this evening or on Thursday evening to finalise any action against Droba and Eboué. An announcement is expected either on Thursday evening or on Friday.

A furious Galatasaray team spokesperson, Sedat Dogan, called on the Turkish Soccer Federation to resign and branded its actions as racist.

“First of all, we must know who Nelson Mandela is to understand and digest if this action Drogba and Eboué took is political,” he said.

“Nelson Mandela has spent all his life fighting against racism and because of this he was in jail for years. Even at his funeral, all living US presidents will be there for him.

“Drogba and Eboué are not even citizens of South Africa. I’m trying to explain and get your attention to this being a universal issue, not an ordinary one.

“Is it a crime if my brothers wore T-shirts under their team jerseys?” he asked, adding that the Turkish Football Federation would do the same thing if one of its president’s family members died.

“It looks like the inspectors of the disciplinary committee have no idea what they are doing and they have no idea that they are committing a crime behaving that way,” he fumed, adding that racism is a crime against humanity.

Turkish sports minister Suat Kiliç said: “This will create a very bad image for us abroad and it does not seem that there will be healthy and good decisions that the disciplinary committee is going to take against those players (from other nations).

“Nelson Mandela was an icon not only for South Africa but for everyone who has felt rejected and abused for his or her colour, religion or faith. He had a positive impact on everyone all around the world.”

Galatasaray supporter Emre Cigerci, who lives in Johannesburg, said: "Charging the two players is a very wrong decision. The Turkish Football Federation has no clue as to the meaning of Nelson Mandela for Africans.

“Drogba and Eboué took very good and meaningful action last Friday. I support our players’ actions with all my heart and I really think all Galatasaray fans agree with me.”

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