Turkish Football Federation (TFF) has been awarded the FIFA Fair Play Award for 2008 along with Football Federation of Armenia for making a contribution to world peace at a ceremony in Zurich Opera House.
The World Cup qualifier between Armenia and Turkey which took place in 6 September 2008 in Yerevan, saw Turkey president Abdullah Gül and Armenia President Serzh Sargsyan watch the game together from the stands. Besides, Gül spent eight hours in the Armenian capital. This event helped TFF to receive the award for encouraging the dialogue between two countries which do not have any form of diplomatic relations.
Turkish Football Federation President Mahmut Özgener was given the award in the ceremony by UEFA President and FIFA Executive Committee Member Michel Platini with UEFA Vice-President and FIFA Executive Committee member Şenes Erzik.
Talking at the ceremony, Özgener said: "It was clearly seen with the match in Yerevan that sports is a powerful tool for uniting nations, lead the way for peace and plant seeds of brotherhood and tolerance. We played three different matches in Yerevan on different age levels against Armenia in 2008. Each time there was a great interest and hospitality shown towards our team. Thanks to those games, Turkish and Armenian football family and politicians from both countries were able to establish a bridge of peace."
Özgener added he was hoping to feel the same winds of peace in the return match which will be played on 14 October 2009.
Meanwhile, TFF Vice-president Lutfi Arıboğan, TFF Board Member Levent Kızıl and National Team captain Tuncay Şanlı were also invited to the ceremony.