Champions League And Grand Prix: Coming Soon To An Istanbul Near You

This summer Turkey is hosting possibly its two largest ever “sports” events for the first time ever: soccer’s European Champions League final featuring Liverpool and AC Milan on 25 May and a round of the Formula 1 Grand Prix on 21 August. Both will be held in Istanbul.

I write “sports” in quotation marks because it is very difficult to classify Formula 1 as a sport. Money, politics, cigarette advertising and business seem far more important than competing on a level track. The same could be said for the Champions League, particularly since a club does not need to be a champion to enter (see: Liverpool :-)) and it can favour the losers of the larger leagues more than the champions of the smaller leagues, but that is another story.

I used to take an interest in the grand prix, particularly when a round was formerly held in my old city of Adelaide, Australia. My first year of university, 1995, was also the final year of the Adelaide Grand Prix. The roar of the cars could be heard from the exam room. Rumour has it, “Free As A Bird” the Beatles song was played in public for the first time ever when George Harrison asked a nightclub DJ to play it whilst George was in town for the 1995 grand prix.

The Adelaide Grand Prix was voted the best grand prix of the year several times. Generally, when a venue is the absolute best at an event, it normally keeps that event. However, politics and money got in the way and from 1996 onwards, the grand prix has been held in Melbourne. Not that I give a damn anymore.

As an interesting aside to the Champions League final, the venue, Ataturk Olympic Stadium’s website has links to the following information leaflets:

Pick the odd one out

If you guessed the leaflet to the right, you are correct!

AC Milan (from Milan, Italy) is playing in the final and “Informazioni per il pubblico” is in Italian, so why is the third leaflet “Spanish”?

Despite the politics I hope the grand prix round and Champions League final are both successful and bring great happiness to many Turkish and other people. My tip for the soccer final?

May the best, most entertaining team who dives in the penalty box the least win 🙂

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