International Day of Disabled People 2017 was marked across the world on Sunday 3 December, including in Turkey where football played an important role in the celebrations.

The theme for this year's International Day of Disabled People was ‘Transformation towards sustainable and resilient society for all’, and a number of social activities took place across Turkey to promote increased access and inclusion. Amongst these events was an exhibition football match held in Istanbul.

Turkey's national amputee football team - recently crowned European champions - were joined by former international players, a well-known former referee and local celebrities to raise awareness.

The match aimed to raise funds for disabled people in Turkey to be able to purchase wheelchairs.

Goalkeeper Rüştü Reçber and forward Tanju Çolak, who between them have amassed over 150 caps for the Turkish national team, took part alongside former FIFA referee Erman Toroğlu. Toroğlu has enjoyed a long career as a referee and in the Turkish football media.

Actor Cansel Elçin also played in the match, with similar exhibition games held in the Üsküdar and Bakırköy municipalites in Istanbul, as well as in the Bursa and Denizli provinces.

Elsewhere in Turkey, a large number of disabled people attended a bicycle ride organised by Istanbul's Bağcılar Municipality. The route went from Europe to Asia, by crossing the July 15 Martyrs' Bridge (Bosporus Bridge).

Taking part in the ride was disabled athlete Abdulkadir Özol, who said, "I recommend all my disabled friends to keep on going and to never lock themselves up at home".

For further information about International Day of Disabled People 2017, please click here.

Published 04/12/2017