Former stars meet young Turkish hopefuls
© LOC

Ambassador for Fair Play at the FIFA U-20 World Cup Turkey 2013 and a former Swiss international Kubilay Turkyilmaz got together with homeless children as well as members of the Trabzonspor academy at the Trabzon Haluk Ulusoy training centre, ahead of 10 July’s semi-final between Uruguay and Iraq. Turkyilmaz played football with the children and handed out advice to some of the young players dreaming of becoming stars of the future.

Turkyilmaz, who played for Turkish giants Galatasaray between 1993 and 1995, was happy to explain the importance of Fair Play to his young audience: “There is nothing more important than respecting your opponents, team-mates, coaches, referees and supporters,” he said.

The former striker had also highlighted his Fair Play concerns in an interview with FIFA.com. “Football is a very important part of the lives of young children all around the world. They watch us on TV and dream of becoming the stars of the future,” he underlined.

“We are responsible for their development, not just on the pitch but off it as well. When you discriminate against an opponent you are not just affecting them, you are also setting a bad example for thousands of young children. A professional footballer must always remember to set an example for the next generation.”

Taught the principles of Fair Play early on in his football career by his family and football coaches, Turkyilmaz was well-placed to continue on this theme: “Fair Play has played an important role in my career, and for this reason I am proud to be able to speak about its principles with you. As long as the game is played in the spirit of Fair Play, you will always be a winner - whatever the result,” he concluded, before handing out gifts to the children in attendance.

For his part, former Bursaspor player Sedat Ozden – known to his fans by the nickname ‘Sedat 3’ – was in the city of Bursa for the FIFA Fair Play day. There he took time out from his schedule to meet players from Bursaspor's youth teams.

Ozden, who spent his entire football career at Bursaspor, met the young footballers at the Bursa Merinos stadium. During his visit, Ozden underlined the importance of good sportsmanship, classing it as one of the game’s most important components, and urged the youngsters to adhere to the spirit of Fair Play for the duration of their time in football.

After meeting the promising youth players, Ozden played a short match with them and also handed out gifts. FIFA U-20 World Cup Organising Committee members Everton Gonsalves (Antigua and Barbuda) and Moucharafou Anjorin (Benin), Match Commissioners for the games played in Trabzon and Bursa respectively, were also present at the events and passed on messages to the young players about the importance of Fair Play.