Coronavirus: Turkey suspends football, basketball and volleyball
Last Updated: 20/03/20 8:32am
Turkish football, basketball and volleyball leagues have become among the last to be suspended indefinitely due to the worsening coronavirus pandemic.
The country's authorities had come under mounting international pressure to fall in line with much of the world in calling a halt to sport.
They had also faced continued criticism from some Turkish Super Lig footballers, with John Obi Mikel being joined by Galatasaray's Radamel Falcao and Kayserispor's Bernard Mensah in voicing calls for the league to cease. Mikel has since left Trabzonspor.
Sports Minister Muharrem Kasapoglu, speaking after a meeting of sports federations in Ankara, said: "Within the framework of measures taken against the coronavirus, all matches of soccer, basketball, volleyball and handball have been postponed."
Turkey has 191 confirmed cases and three deaths from coronavirus and authorities had taken steps to try to contain the spread, including ordering sports events to be played behind closed doors without spectators.
Life is the most important thing on earth .. this is serious thing happening and they still insist to continue do they really care about us ?. 🤦🏾♂️🤦🏾♂️🤦🏾♂️🤦🏾♂️— Bernard Mensah (@oliver_mens) March 17, 2020
On Thursday, football's global players union FIFPRO announced it had written to the Turkish League asking it to "urgently reconsider" its decision to continue matches and training.
"Numerous foreign players have contacted us to say they are uncomfortable continuing as #COVID19 spreads," FIFPRO said on Twitter.