Get shirty: Russian footballer outrages Turkish fans and media with Putin tee
Turkish media even went so far as to block out the shirt’s message in coverage of the game.
The FC Lokomotiv Moscow midfielder is facing a possible ban of at least 10 games for backing his president while competing in a sport which regularly sees vulgar abuse openly directed at players and rival supporters from so-called fans.
Russian footballer provokes Turkey with Vladimir Putin T-shirt https://t.co/v9381ztvJL— The Guardian (@guardian) February 17, 2016
At the end of the game Tarasov removed his jersey to reveal a t-shirt bearing an image of Vladimir Putin and emblazoned with Russian words. Translated into English, it read: “The most polite president.”
A number of Turkish and international media outlets have labeled Tarasov’s shirt gesture an attempt to provoke Turkey or Turkish fans. Last year, Turkey shot down a Russian aircraft but failed to take any meaningful responsibility over the fatal incident.
Turkish newspaper Yeni Safak bizarrely went to the trouble of censoring the apparently offensive image of Putin, who regularly appears unblurred on international news channels around the world.
Dmitri Tarasov sparks controversy with his Putin t-shirt after the Fenerbahce game... you always have one... pic.twitter.com/LDtI9mvDzg— Turkish-Football.com (@Turkish_Futbol) February 16, 2016
Lokomotiv Moskova'lı Dmitri Tarasov maç sonu formasını çıkararak sahada Putin tişörtüyle dolaştı. pic.twitter.com/V48akdy8K1— Spor Toto Süper Lig (@TFFSuperLig) February 16, 2016
The player himself has responded saying he did not mean to provoke. He told Life News that “smart people” will understand that it was not the intention.
Speaking to Russia’s R-Sport he explained: “It’s my president. I respect him and decided to show that I’m always with him and prepared to give my support.”
Despite numerous publications perhaps hoping to take the incident as some sort of attack on Turkey, he said: “What was written on that shirt was everything that I wanted to say.”
Tarasov, who was on the losing side at the Istanbul ground Tuesday, has apparently contravened UEFA’s Article 14 rule on “Racism, other discriminatory conduct and propaganda”.
These are the UEFA regulations Dmitri Tarasov has breached and is likely to be punished by. pic.twitter.com/uP6AuUAOun— Toke Theilade (@TokeTheilade) February 17, 2016
While some have labelled the 28 year old a fashion troll, others think it is a bit of an overreaction to get shirty over the incident.
Dmitri Tarasov'un maç sonu formasını çıkardıktan sonraki tişörtü!— Burak Doğan (@doganburak29) February 16, 2016
Bizimkiler Erdoğan fotosu koysa linç edilmişti. pic.twitter.com/UvDnDevkQP
Russian footballer reveals Putin shirt in Turkey game & faces suspension. You shouldn't be suspended for a T-shirthttps://t.co/tPSYRdRXDd— David Patrikarakos (@dpatrikarakos) February 17, 2016
The relationship between the nations reached a low last November, when a Russian Su-24 aircraft was shot down over Syria by a Turkish F-16 as it was bombing terrorist targets on the ground.
The unprovoked attack by the Turkish air force resulted in the death of Russian crew commander Oleg Peshkov.
Officials in Turkey claim the supersonic Russian aircraft entered Turkish airspace for a total of 17 seconds. However, Turkish officials did not use a hotline set up especially to facilitate communications between the two militaries before shooting the plane down.