Turkey bans Kurdish football club’s player for life over attack on opponents


ANKARA:  – A football player of the Kurdish Amedspor club in Turkey’s third-tier league has been banned for life for attacking opponent players, the Turkish Football Federation (TFF) said on Thursday.

Mansur Calar, 33, was banned from all competitive games for four years and fined 25,000 lira ($4,600) for “attacks on opponent players” during his club’s 1-1 draw against Sakaryaspor last weekend, the TFF said.

Procedurally, any suspension longer than three years in Turkey constitutes a life ban, meaning Calar will not be able to play soccer in the country again.

Footage from the match showed players from Sakaryaspor being attacked by Calar with what appeared to be a sharp weapon. After the match, the players who were attacked appeared to have cuts on parts of their bodies and faces where Calar was seen attacking.

With the TFF’s decision, Calar became the second player from Amedspor, who play in the biggest city of Turkey’s largely Kurdish southeast, to receive a life ban from Turkish football.

Last year, German-Kurdish player Deniz Naki, who had been previously convicted for supporting the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), was also banned for life for “separatist and ideological propaganda”.

Amedspor have long been at the centre of controversy, with their games often overshadowed by conflict between Turkish security forces and Kurdish militants.

About 40,000 people have been killed since the PKK took up arms against the Turkish state for autonomy in the country’s southeast. The PKK is considered a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the United States and the European Union.

The TFF also handed Amedspor a spectators’ ban and two of its other players match bans and fines for the altercation at the end of the match with Sakaryaspor. A Sakaryaspor player was given a five match ban and a fine.

Amedspor currently stand in 8th position in the TFF Second League, 20 points behind league leaders Keciorengucu, with nine games left in the season.

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