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Russian Football Clubs Banned From Signing Turkish Players

Russian Football Clubs Banned From Signing Turkish Players

The Russian-Turkish conflict had started with a Russian Su-24 war plane shot down by a Turkish J-16 war jet. Both sides reacted immediately and very emotionally: the Turkish ambassador in the U.S. twitted that no one should test Turkey’s patience, and the Russian President said it was a stab in the back. Predictably, this conflict will tangle diplomatic relations between countries in any way connected to the Syrian conflict even further. The Russian government also reacted with sanctions: implementing customs restrictions, banning certain kinds of Turkish products and suspending all tours to Turkey.

Punitive steps were implemented even in sports. The Russian sports minister Vitaly Mutko announced that Russian football clubs would not be allowed to sign Turkish players during winter season. Originally his statement, made during an interview with the R-Sport agency, sounded rather as a recommendation, but when asked for clarification, Mutko confirmed it was a strict prohibition.

Luckily, the sports sanctions will not affect players that are currently working for Russian football teams. This includes the midfielder Gokdeniz Karadeniz, who joined Russian Kazan’s Rubin football club in 2008 and will have the right to change clubs only after May 31, 2016. According to Vitaly Mutko, everyone who has signed contracts will be allowed to do their work without obstacles. This includes Turkish companies that are involved in constructing stadiums for the upcoming World Cup 2018. Mutko guarantees that the existing contracts will not be looked into, but the minister stresses that after the duties are finished, these companies will not be present in Russia anymore.

Moreover, Mutko suggested that Russian football clubs cancel the winter training camps in Turkey in furtherance of other sanctions. Many major clubs, including Lokomotiv, Spartak (Moscow) and FC, Kuban (Krasnodar), said they would consider the advice. The conflict that started after the downing of the Russian warplane by Turkish air forces seems to be getting more and more serious.

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