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from Photographers' Blog:

Goodbye to hell

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In the second half of the 2010-2011 Turkish football season Galatasaray moved to its new home ground in Istanbul, the Turk Telekom Arena, a 52,000-seat multi-purpose stadium replacing the Ali Sami Yen Stadium.

The fate of the legendary Ali Sami Yen Stadium is now sealed.

Ali Sami Yen stadium in Istanbul 2010. REUTERS/Sevim Sen

The demolition of Ali Sami Yen, one of the most iconic venues in Turkish football and the home to one of the three oldest Istanbul football clubs Galatsaray for 47 years, started last week. For almost half a century, the yellow-and-red lions hosted their rivals in this temple with the slogan "welcome to hell". The stadium played host to victories against European giants FC Barcelona, A.Bilbao, AC Milan, Real Madrid, E.Frankfurt, and a historic victory against Neuchatel Xamax. Most notably it was the scene of Galatasaray’s triumphal UEFA Cup campaign in 2000.

Galatasaray soccer fans cheer during the Turkish Super league derby soccer match between Galatasaray and Fenerbahce at Ali Sami Yen stadium in Istanbul March 28, 2010. REUTERS/Murad Sezer

The team played all its home group and qualification matches for the 2000 UEFA Cup at the stadium before winning the final against Arsenal in Copenhagen, the biggest success in the history of Turkish football.
World renowned Italian referee Pierluigi Collina even once admitted: “I love this Hell.” It was witness to unforgettable national and international football matches, hosting world class teams, players, coaches and referees. The stadium witnessed 14 of Galatasaray’s 17 Turkish league titles. Opened in 1964, Ali Sami Yen Stadium has always played a major part in the Turkish football scene, being home to Galatasaray’s heyday and many victories of the Turkish national football team.

But within two to three years it will be replaced by a vast residence and office project, rising above the memories where Ali Sami Yen Stadium used to stand.

France to host Euro 2016

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Favourites France have been chosen to host Euro 2016 after beating Italy and Turkey.

UEFA President Michel Platini, a proud Frenchman, whipped round the card in Geneva to reveal France’s name.

from Photographers' Blog:

Fans, fire and fury

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Fenerbahce's hopes of winning the Turkish league title for the 18th time were all resting on the final round of games in the 2009-2010 Super League. Expectations among their fans were high, with the major Istanbul club knowing a win at home against Trabzonspor was enough to clinch the championship.

Second-placed Bursaspor were one point behind Fenerbahce on 72 points and faced the tough prospect of a match against last year's champions Besiktas. Some 50,000 Fenerbahce fans wearing navy blue and yellow jerseys took their seats at the Sukru Saracoglu stadium with their attention focused more on celebrating their imminent title triumph than on watching the game.

from FaithWorld:

Muslims angry at German soccer club over song

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German Muslims have inundated one of the country's top soccer teams, Schalke 04, with complaints about a verse in the club's anthem which, they say, is disparaging towards the Prophet Mohammad.

The club has its home in Gelsenkirchen in Germany's industrial heartland and immigrants make up about a third of the town's population. Most of them have a Turkish background. Germany's biggest mosque was opened in nearby Duisburg last year and many Schalke supporters are Muslims, as chat rooms like this one point out.

Is Grandad Aragones set to leave Fenerbahce?

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Turks have nicknamed Luis Aragones “dede” or “granddad” since he became Fenerbahce coach last July – at first to convey the respect they’d show a wise and experienced elder, but nowadays to express their fury at a man they view as an incompetent geriatric.

Calls for his resignation have increased since Fenerbahce lost the Turkish Cup to bitter Istanbul rivals Besiktas last week. A victory could have sweetened Aragones’ severance package from his contract, but would no longer have saved his job, Turkish media said.

Just kebabs and tea in Sivas – hence the team’s success

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“There is no nightlife in Sivas,” states Sivasspor coach Bulent Uygun.

This is why his team are surprise leaders of the Turkish championship.

Located in Anatolia’s bleak central heartland, Sivas is a tortuous 12-hour drive from the temptations of Istanbul. Turkey’s glittering beach resorts aren’t much closer.

Don’t mention the draw!

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This week’s two World Cup qualifiers between Spain and Turkey have prompted the Spanish media to look back at a dramatic moment in the history of the two nations’ soccer teams.

It came at the end of the last of three matches the pair played in early 1954 to decide which would qualify for the World Cup in Switzerland later that year.

Can Galatasaray’s “Great Captain” be a great coach?

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Galatasaray took a gamble in replacing German coach Michael Skibbe with former captain Bulent Korkmaz just three days before their UEFA Cup tie against Bordeaux.

But there was jubilation at the Ali Sami Yen stadium on Thursday after the team clinched a place in the last 16 with Sabri Sarioglu’s 90th minute decider sealing a thrilling 4-3 win.

Which Euro 2008 players are on the move?

As the dust settles on Euro 2008 and attention turns to transfer market, it will be interesting to see how many of the top performers from the tournament will be on the move in the coming weeks.

If Cristiano Ronaldo’s future at Manchester United generated endless speculation at the start of the Euros, the finals ended with other names enjoying newly-acquired prominence. 

Turkey’s Terim deserves another shot at a big club

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Fatih Terim

Turkey coach Fatih Terim said he would probably leave following their unlucky 3-2 defeat by Germany in the Euro 2008 semi-finals.

Given the way his determined and depleted side played and the gracious manner in which Terim conducted himself, a move to a big European club may not be far away.

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