Text size

After a weekend in which anti-Israeli slogans were chanted against Fenerbahce's star midfielder, Haim Revivo, and a large demonstration where Revivo's No. 10, bearing the legend `Revivo get out of Turkey,' was burned, the Turkish soccer community appeared unconcerned over what has been called "Revivogate."

Fener officials vehemently denied they were ready to recommend that Revivo's family return to Israel until worldwide demonstrations against Israel abated. The officials said that Revivo had nothing to be fearful of, that there is no need to assign him police protection and that the Israeli star's future with the Turkish champions was never questioned.

The sports press was also not unduly concerned by the anti-Israeli shouts directed at Revivo during the Istanbul derby against Besiktas. One daily reported that the Israeli midfielder is widely liked in Turkey - thanks in part to his mastering the language - and that the shouting came from a tiny number of fans.

Another paper wrote that the incident was expected at such an important and tense local derby, reminding readers that Revivo was well-received by the Fener fans throughout the match.

Revivo set up one of Fenerbahce's goal in the 2-0 win over Besiktas, and assured the Turkish champions a place in the preliminary rounds of next season's Champions League.

Speaking yesterday to Ha'aretz, Revivo said that he was in good spirits. The headlines in Israeli newspaper may be very big," he said, "but as far as I am concerned, evrything is very calm."

Revivo added that he had walked through downtown Istanbul yesterday, and had encountered nothing but good-will.

"Fans of Galatasaray, Besiktas and Fenerbahce all came up to me and encouraged me. They said that I am a sportsman and that no one would ever harm me. I have a contract with Fenerbahce for next season as well, and Iintend to honor it."