Lifetime ban of Amed SK player is political, says club president

The lifetime ban imposed on footballer Mansur Çalar for cutting opponents on the pitch with a sharp object was based on politics, his club Amed SK has said, vowing to appeal against the ban.

Çalar was hit with the lifetime ban from playing professional football in Turkey on Thursday, after several players from their opposing team last Saturday, Sakaryaspor, went to the hospital with cuts.

Video footage shows Çalar putting his hand on Sakaryaspor players’ faces and necks as the two teams inspected the pitch at Amed SK’s home stadium before Saturday’s match.

Amed SK, a second league club based in the predominantly Kurdish city of Diyarbakır in southeast Turkey, has said the claims that Çalar cut the players have not been proven.

Rather, the club’s president, Ali Karakaş, said during a press conference on Friday, the Turkish disciplinary committee had “political motives” for imposing a lifetime ban.

“If it is as they’ve claimed, they would have needed to informed the referee and reported the incident as soon as it happened or directly after the match, but the opposition team’s players did not choose to,” Karakaş said. “

If there really was a razorblade (in Çalar’s hand) they should prove it. Otherwise they should explain their reasoning for the punishment,” he said.

Amedspor has said it intends to appeal against Çalar’s ban.

Two other Amed SK players have also received lengthy bans, with Muhammed Ali Özdemir hit with a four-match ban, and Muhlis Istemi banned for five matches. Amed SK will also have to play one match behind closed doors.

Amed SK officials have complained that their club is targeted by Turkish authorities due to the importance many people attribute to the club as a symbol of the Kurdish political movement.