Players from Turkish Galatasaray soccer club, who arrived in Greece for a friendly match against local Olympiacos, were not allowed to enter the country on Monday, July 12, because they refused to pass the rapid test for COVID-19 at Athens’ Eleftherios Venizelos International Airport. This order was given by Nikos Hardalias, Deputy Minister of Civil Protection and Crisis Management of the Republic.
On Monday, the airport refused to accept the results of PCR testing of the Turkish team’s players and staff in Turkey and demanded that the club be retested.
“For the entry of the Galatasaray team, all that is stipulated in the joint ministerial decision 2978 ch. B 7-7-2021, and in accordance with Article 3, paragraph 5, which explicitly stipulates that all travelers to Greece, regardless of nationality and method of entry into the country, are subject to laboratory control by PCR or a test for rapid detection of COVID-19 coronavirus antigen based on a sanitary algorithm,” Hardalias was quoted as saying .
According to the deputy minister, the Civil Protection involved additional teams so that the Turkish team was not disturbed by the waiting, but the players refused to undergo a rapid test in accordance with the provisions of Greek legislation in force.
As a result, an order was given not to let Galatasaray into Greece. Hardalias stressed that Greece does not provide relaxation on public health issues.
According to Turkish TV channel NTV, the Turkish Foreign Ministry said the incident “shows Greece’s intolerance towards our country, even in the field of sports.
Changed rules for entry into Greece came into force on June 30. In particular, in addition to a certificate of a negative result of PCR test for COVID-19, all those arriving in the country are required to undergo free testing for coronavirus.