Turkey suspends soccer, basketball, volleyball, handball matches indefinitely

Turkey has suspended all matches in football, basketball, handball and volleyball across the country amid growing coronavirus concerns. The decision was announced on March 19 by Mehmet Kasapoğlu, Turkey's youth and sports minister.

Duvar English

Turkey has suspended football, basketball, volleyball and handball leagues indefinitely due to the widening coronavirus outbreak, bowing to pressure from players and coaches after many other countries called off sports events.

Turkey's Sports Minister Muharrem Kasapoğlu made the announcement on March 19 in a joint press conference with the presidents of the football, basketball, volleyball and handball federations.

Last week, all sports events nationwide were held without any spectators. 

Meanwhile, the International Federation of Professional Footballers (FIFPro) asked the Turkish Football Federation to postpone all league games.

"FIFPro has written to the Turkish #SuperLig and federation asking them to urgently reconsider the decision to continue matches and training during the #coronavirus outbreak," FIFPro tweeted on March 19.

It added that several foreign players contacted FIFPro, saying they were worried about COVID-19.

On March 18, Nigerian midfielder John Obi Mikel parted ways with Turkish football club Trabzonspor, refusing to play due to the pandemic.

Mikel, 32, said he wasn't comfortable, and did not want to play football in the current situation.

"Everyone should be home with their families and loved ones in this critical time. Season should be cancelled as the world is facing such turbulent times," he said on Instagram.

Turkey has so far reported 191 positive virus cases with three deaths.