Iceland’s reception of Turkey football team sparks controversy, diplomatic protest

The Turkish team was kept waiting for several hours at passport control at Reykjavik airport on Sunday and subjected to extensive security checks. (Reuters/File Photo)
Updated 10 June 2019

Iceland’s reception of Turkey football team sparks controversy, diplomatic protest

  • The Turkish team was kept waiting for several hours at passport control
  • Presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin took to Twitter to show his anger

REYKJAVIK: Turkish officials Monday denounced the “disrespect” shown to the national football team when they arrived in Iceland for a Euro 2020 qualifier.
The Turkish team was kept waiting for several hours at passport control at Reykjavik airport on Sunday and subjected to extensive security checks, according to accounts from the players carried by Turkish media.
Presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin took to Twitter to show his anger, slamming the “disrespect” shown to the national team and saying the treatment of the Turkish players was “unacceptable.”
Fahrettin Altun, communications director at the Turkish presidency, also said the treatment was “not in line with diplomatic courtesy or sportsmanlike conduct.”
The foreign ministry issued a diplomatic protest note to Iceland via the Norwegian embassy. Icelandic officials confirmed to AFP that they had received the protest but did not provide further details.
Isavia, the company who manages the airport, said the extended checks had been made for security reasons, since the airport the players originally departed from, Konya, is not party to the same security rules as airports within the EU or countries that have a related agreement.
The company said it was “under obligation to carry out a security search of all passengers coming from such airports,” regardless of nationality.
“As a rule, the security search does not take long. Last evening, however, the search took longer as a search had to be made for electronic devices and liquids in unusually many bags,” the company said in a statement.
The Icelandic Football Federation’s security team told the news website Visir that players from the Icelandic team had experienced similar checks when they returned from Turkey after a match two years ago.
The incident comes right after Turkey defeated world champions France 2-0 in Konya in a Euro 2020 qualifier on Saturday.


SFA launches Saudi Arabia’s first walk-run event in the summer

Photo/Supplied
Updated 13 July 2020

SFA launches Saudi Arabia’s first walk-run event in the summer

  • Staged under the banner of the Quality of Life program, the Step Together walk-run series aims to contribute to Vision 2030 by ensuring that physical activity levels are maintained and grow during the summer months

RIYADH: The Saudi Sports for All Federation (SFA) has announced its first outdoor event of the summer season, a series of competitive walk-runs called Step Together.
The first Step Together virtual walk-run is open to individual and teams. Participants can register from July 17 until the closing date of July 26.
Adults taking part can choose to complete either a 42 kilometer full marathon or a 21 kilometer half marathon over a period of 10 days, commencing on July 17. Children under the age of 15 taking part in the challenge will complete a shorter 10 kilometer race over the same period.
The event is the first organized by the SFA since lockdown restrictions were eased. It is designed to appeal to all ages, abilities and demographics by offering both walk and run options. Participants who meet the distance goals will be awarded with finishing medals and electronic certificates celebrating their achievement.
Participants will be able to use their own preferred digital fitness tracker. They will upload data and images every day to the race platform to register progress and compare their results with other participants on the race leaderboard.
Community sports groups (CSGs) are also encouraged to join Step Together, with the event featuring an exclusive leaderboard for groups. Members of CSGs can complete simultaneously in both individual and group categories.
Registered users will each receive email confirmations with a unique link and instructions for the Race Result platform.
The dedicated link allows each participant to enter distance and elapsed time each day, validated by a screenshot from any digital fitness tracker.
A results tab on the platform allows users to enjoy friendly competition and compare results with other participants.
There are also leaderboards for various categories on the same page, including age, gender and distance.
Staged under the banner of the Quality of Life program, the Step Together walk-run series aims to contribute to Vision 2030 by ensuring that physical activity levels are maintained and grow during the summer months.
The aims to promote a renewed excitement and energy for outdoor fitness.
A recent SFA report said there was a 60 percent increase in walking in Saudi Arabia since March, while running became 30 percent more popular.
The report added that the increases mainly came from people who were previously less active.
The SFA aims to further encourage enjoyment of physical fitness within this demographic.

Step Together participants can register on the Race Result platform at sfa.sa/STen.