The original match was started on December 7, 1930 and was the first friendly match between Greeks and Turks since World War I. The purpose of the game was to strengthen the turbulent relations of the two countries. However, a heavy downpour started and the referee stopped the match after only three minutes, sending the Turkish team back home.
The idea to replay the game was born in 2012 when Lailapas coach Michalis Kottakis was told the story of the cancelled game by the Greek historian Yiannis Makridakis and found a picture of the 1930 game in the club archives. He then, contacted his counterpart at Karşıyaka, Fatih Diniz, and agreed to replay the game.
The two teams gathered Saturday in Fafalieio Stadium in the village of Vrontados, in Chios, wearing identical kits to those of the original game in 1930 and played the remaining 87 minutes of the friendly game which ended in a thrilling 5-5 draw.
The match started with the national anthems of the two countries and was attended among others by the Turkish Ambassador to Greece Kerim Uras, the Greek Consul to Izmir Theodore Tsakiris, the President of the Hellenic Football Federation (EPO) Giorgos Sarris along with local officials and many Greek and Turkish fans.
Karşıyaka mayor Huseyin Mutlu Akpinar who participated in the game playing for both teams said that: “I’ve played many games but today’s was meaningful. The friendship of the two Aegean sides manifested once again.”
“The historic and symbolic meanings of the match are very high,” said Kerim Uras while Yiannis Makridakis added that: “The event symbolizes the unity of Turkish and Greek peoples.”
The match also drew the attention of international media such as BBC, CNN and Al Jazeera.
However, according to local media, a group of people holding Greek flags and shouting slogans, along with members of the local branch of Golden Dawn interrupted the game but were forced out by the police.
After the end of the game medals were awarded to the players of both teams and a concert was held in the Municipal Stadium of Chios by the Greek singer Gerasimos Andreatos and Turkey’s Dilek Koç.
Lailapas was one of Greece’s oldest and formerly most competitive clubs from its foundation in 1925 to 1950 when it was forced to close. It was re-founded in 2009 and currently plays in Greece’s fourth division. Karşıyaka is a Turkish football club founded in 1912 in Karşıyaka, Izmir. It plays in the second tier of the Turkish First League.