Coronavirus: ‘There is more to life,’ say footballers in Turkey upset matches haven’t been cancelled

Footballers across Turkey have criticised the government’s decision to continue playing matches behind closed doors.

Professional sport has continued in the country without fans in attendance, despite many European countries suspending competition during the pandemic.

Turkish Football Federation (TFF) President Nihat Özdemir reiterated his league’s stance on Tuesday, saying that professional matches would “continue without spectators” until the end of April.

Fans have been banned from football matches since March 12.

In a statement, the Federation said the decision had been taken “with the advice of senior representatives of the Scientific Board and Ministries.”

But the TFF it did not understand why the decision “focused entirely” on football.

On Wednesday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan told the public to avoid going out unless it was necessary, in the latest measures to contain the virus

A number of high-profile players have taken to social media to voice their opposition to the latest announcement.

‘There is more to life than football’

Following Erdogan’s address, Uruguay and Galatasaray goalkeeper Fernando Muslera posted an image on his Instagram story, which showed the social distancing of politicians in Turkey, sat one metre apart in parliament.

“I’m really sad. Are we going to defend our opponents like that?”

On Tuesday, former Chelsea player John Obi Mikel “mutually terminated” his contract with club Trabzonspor.

Mikel has posted on Instagram on Sunday, urging for games to be cancelled during “such turbulent times”.

“I do not feel comfortable and don’t want to play football in this situation.”

“There is more to life than football.”

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