Galatasaray pull out of match in Greece after PCR test row

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Tue, 13 Jul 2021 - 08:32 GMT

ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Galatasaray have decided to pull out of a friendly soccer match against Olympiakos Piraeus and return home after accusing Greek officials of discrimination after they refused to accept the players' PCR tests, the Turkish club said on Monday.

The incident occurred at a time when Ankara and Athens have been working to repair ties, resuming direct talks after a five-year hiatus following tensions last year over energy resources and jurisdiction in the Mediterranean Sea.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Twitter the club's treatment in Greece was unacceptable and his ministry said he spoke by phone with his Greek counterpart Nikos Dendias about the incident.

Galatasaray described the incident as "clear discrimination against a Turkish team", saying the results of the PCR tests which Galatasaray had previously carried out were not accepted by the Greek officials, who demanded new tests be conducted.

It said Greek customs and security officials behaved in an insulting way and created difficulties, prompting the club's decision to return home.

"We expect in the name of our country an apology from Greek offices and officials," the club said in a statement.

Greece's Civil Protection Minister Nikos Hardalias said Tuesday's friendly was not taking place in the context of an international event with an approved entry protocol, so all those arriving were subject to sampling PCR or rapid testing.

He said in a statement that the Turkish team refused to undergo a rapid test in accordance with Greek legislation.

"Given their refusal, the members of the mission were not allowed to enter our country, by my order," he said.

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