UEFA Cup Trophy Arrives In Istanbul, Turkey

AHMET BOB TURGUT@turkishsoccerCorrespondent IApril 24, 2009

TURIN, ITALY - OCTOBER 21:  UEFA president Michel Platini (L) prior to the UEFA Champions League Group H match between Juventus and Real Madrid at the Stadio Olimpico on October 21, 2008 in Turin, Italy.  (Photo by Hamish Blair/Getty Images)

Last year's UEFA Cup holders Zenit St. Petersburg returned on Thursday the trophy to UEFA President Michel Platini at a ceremony held in Istanbul ahead of this year's final game.

"I have seen a great enthusiasm here and I believe it would be fantastic final," Platini told the ceremony.

Istanbul's Sukru Saracoglu Stadium is set to host the final match, which is scheduled for May 20.

Platini handed over to Istanbul Mayor Kadir Topbas the trophy, which is set to stay in the city for display until the final game.

"I am very excited. This is the greatest chance that a mayor could ever get," Topbas told reporters.


UEFA President Michel Platini visited the Fenerbahce Sukru Saracoglu Stadium in Istanbul, which will host the UEFA Cup final, in May.

Two teams from Ukraine—Dynamo Kyiv and Shakhtar Donetsk—and two German teams—Werder Bremen and Hamburg—are in the running for the title.

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It is the last time the competition is held under the UEFA Cup name and format. Next season the tournament will be renamed the Europa League.

Turkish Football Federation Chairman Mahmut Özgener said, "Istanbul will host a great final after its long preparations."

During the news conference when one of the Turkish reporter asked about Turkey's chance to get the 2016 European Football Championship he replied by saying, "France is one of the candidates as well." He went on to say, "You see, the UEFA president is French, but the vice president Senez Erzik  is Turkish."

He closed his remarks by saying they will not be voting on this matter.