Nelson Mandela tribute

Mandela shirts could lead to discipline

December 9, 2013
By ESPN staff

Didier Drogba and Emmanuel Eboue will appear before the Turkish Football Federation's disciplinary committee after revealing shirts with tribute messages to Nelson Mandela.

Didier Drogba Mandela shirt message
APDidier Drogba reveals a tribute message to the late Nelson Mandela.

A federation rule prohibits players from displaying slogans or political messages on their shirts.

After Galatasaray's win on Friday, Drogba revealed a shirt with the slogan "Thank you Madiba," while Eboue's read "Rest in peace, Nelson Mandela." Both players are from the Ivory Coast.

Mandela, the former South Africa president, had died a day earlier.

• Moonda: Mandela's sporting legacy will live on

Suat Kilic, the Turkish government's sports minister, called on the federation to review its decision against the two star players.

"I don't find it a healthy choice in terms of Turkey's image abroad and the two footballers' (freedom of) expression," he said, according to AFP.

The TFF defended its action by saying Drogba and Eboue failed to receive permission to wear the shirts.

Earlier this month, the federation fined Fethiyespor players for wearing shirts honouring Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of modern Turkey.

South Africa is postponing all games until after Mandela's funeral, in some cases to allow stadiums to be used for memorial services.

Mandela died Thursday and will be buried near his rural Eastern Cape home on Sunday. A huge memorial service will also be held for the anti-apartheid leader at FNB Stadium in Johannesburg on Tuesday, the stadium that hosted the 2010 World Cup final.

The Premier Soccer League, which controls South Africa's top three tiers, says games will resume next Monday.

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