Turkey’s Galatasaray said Saturday it would rename its stadium after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s call for the removal of the word ‘arena’ from sports stadia, state media reported.
“The board of directors took the decision to change the stadium’s name after the president made the call on this issue,” club chairman Dursun Ozbek said, quoted by state-run news agency Anadolu.
The Turkish football team’s venue will be called Turk Telekom Stadium instead of Turk Telekom Arena from Monday, according to Hurriyet daily.
Erdogan said Friday he was against the use of the word arena and had given instructions for their removal from stadia to Sports Minister Akif Cagatay Kilic.
“Of course you know what they used to do in arenas in the past? They would let people be shred to pieces.”
He claimed it was a term foreign to Turkish: “What does arena mean? We don’t have such a thing in our language.”
Several stadia in Turkey have the word ‘arena’ in their title including Istanbul team Fenerbahce’s basketball venue, home of last weekend’s EuroLeague champions, called the Ulker Sports Arena.
Meanwhile Istanbul team Besiktas opened its over 40,000 capacity waterfront Vodafone Arena stadium in April last year.
Turk Telekom chief executive Paul Doany welcomed Galatasaray’s move, saying he supported Erdogan’s call for the ‘arena’ names changes.
“We are in agreement with Galatasaray’s name change from Turk Telekom Arena to Turk Telekom Stadium. We have begun work,” Doany said.
The sports ministry issued a warning to provincial governors to remove the word ‘arena’ from stadia across Turkey, Anadolu reported.