A leading Turkish football club has banned its players from growing beards after their chairman said they looked like students of Islamic vocational schools and set a bad example.
“I am 80 years old, and I shave every single day,” Genclerbirligi Chairman Ilhan Cavcav said in explaining the reasoning for his club’s decision to start issuing a fine of 25,000 lira ($11,200) to any of their footballers with beards.
“Man, is this an imam-hatip school? You are a sportsman. You should be a model for the youth,” he said in an interview with Dogan News Agency, complaining that his own 23-year-old grandson was negatively affected by the ever-growing number of beards in the football world.
As “bad examples”, Cavcav mentioned Besiktas’s Croatian coach Slaven Bilic, Galatasaray midfielder Selcuk Inan and Fenerbahce goal-keeper Volkan Demirel.
Seeking nationwide ban
Cavcav said he had asked the Turkish Football Federation (TFF) chairman Yildirim Demiroren to adopt a nationwide beard ban for footballers.
“He told me that they could not impose such a restriction because the UEFA would not let them do it. I am fed up with this UEFA. I wish we had some other place to play our football.”
Cavcav’s club came under fire this month after an Alevi Kurdish footballer left the country following a racist attack apparently motivated by his support on social media for Kurds fighting to defend a Syrian border town from Islamic State militants.
Deniz Naki, a dual German-Turkish national who has received online insults over his ethnic origins, was attacked in the Turkish capital Ankara, leaving him with bruises to his face.