Turkey to kick off U-20 World Cup despite ongoing demonstrations

AP, Ahram Online, Wednesday 19 Jun 2013

Under-20 World Cup on track despite anti-government protests, FIFA confirm

World cup logo for youth in turkey
World cup's logo for youth in turkey

The Under-20 World Cup kicks off Friday in Turkey with FIFA promising the tournament will go off without a hitch, despite the at-times violent anti-government protests that have gripped Istanbul and other Turkish cities in recent weeks.

Jim Boyce, chairman of the tournament’s organising committee, acknowledges security has been beefed up for the June 21-July 13 tournament. Boyce said that FIFA security experts are ''very happy with all the security arrangements for the teams and the spectators.''

Police were dispersing pockets of protesters in Ankara and Istanbul on Tuesday night and early Wednesday.

Football can bring people together

Last week, FIFA President Sepp Blatter said that the Under-20 World Cup will go ahead despite protests in Turkey.

Blatter said Wednesday, during an official visit to Serbia, that FIFA was in contact with Turkish ''political authorities, especially with the security.'' He adds that ''the guarantees have been given and I am sure that nothing will happen.''

He says the tournament ''is a good opportunity to show that football can bring people together. We shall stay there and I am sure that political authorities in Turkey are aware of that.''

All eyes on young Pharaohs

Egypt will launch their World Cup campaign on 23 June against Chile, three days before they meet Iraq, the other Arab country in Group E. They will end the group stage by meeting England on 29 June.

Under the leadership of Rabie Yassin, the young Pharaohs won the African tournament last April after defeating Ghana in the final.

(For more sports news and updates, follow Ahram Online Sports on Twitter at @AO Sports and on Facebook at AhramOnlineSports)

Short link: