Turkey has some weird laws. As far as I know it is still illegal to wear a fez hat and foreigners are banned from certain sensitive job catagories, such as shoe cobbling.
One of the weirder ones though is the 1925-enacted law that makes things such as fortune telling and sorcery a criminal offence punishable by between three and 20 months imprisonment.
It appears that Genclerbirligi have fallen foul of the law with prosecutors looking into television footage which showed that before the start of the second half of the season the team and technical staff took part in a ceremony described in Turkish as kurşun dökmek.
I had to look up the dictionary for that one and this is what it said. "to do sorcery or a charm (by casting lead into water)."
The fact that we then went on to lose our first two matches of the second half as well as a Turkish Cup match seems to prove that the sorcery failed. But still the investigation has been launched and in the near future we may have the whole team and coaches locked up, which surely wouldn't help in our quest for European football.
The story reminded me of how witchcraft was what got Australia intolast year's World Cup.
In 1969 the Australia team was in Africa trying to qualify for the 1970 World Cup. They were up against Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) and needed a big win. The players went off and saw a witchdoctor who did something or other. The Aussies went on to win the match 3-1 and unsurprisingly the witchdoctor wanted some money. The Aussie amateurs didn't have enough and so the witchdoctor promised to put a curse on the Australian team.
Just before our next game three players fell ill and, lo and behold, we failed to qualify. Sure we did qualify for 1974 but we were crap there.
Fast forward to last year and an Aussie comedian went back to Mozambique (where the Aussie v Rhodesia match had been played) to discover that the original witchdoctor had died. He found another though who channeled the first guy.
In the words of the comedian John Safran: "Sitting in the middle of the pitch and he killed a chicken and splattered the blood all over me. I then had to go to Telstra Stadium (in Sydney) with (former Aussie captain) Johnny Warren and we had to wash ourselves in some clay the witchdoctor had given us."
Curse lifted and we went on qualify for the World Cup. Perhaps I ought to get that Safran bloke out here.
Confession: Large parts of this report were lifted from the Sydney Morning Herald. Original story here