ISTANBUL, Turkey– Turkey’s Super Lig has been suspended indefinitely because of the coronavirus pandemic, the sports minister announced on Thursday, after the country’s football federation came under fire for insisting games go ahead.
“We decided all together to suspend the league,” Sports Minister Mehmet Kasapoglu said in a televised speech after meeting with the chiefs of the football, volleyball and basketball federations.
Turkish Football Federation (TFF) chief Nihat Ozdemir said the period of suspension would be decided later.
“All football activities in Turkey have been suspended until further notice because of the continuous spread of coronavirus,” said a statement from the TFF.
“It means all professional and amateur football will be suspended immediately.”
Super Lig games have so far gone ahead behind closed doors despite criticism from players and coaches.
Former Nigeria international John Obi Mikel quit leading club Trabzonspor because he did not want to play in the midst of the pandemic.
Other players and coaches, including legendary manager and ex-player Fatih Terim, had called on the TFF to suspend the championship, like most other countries.
Three people have died in Turkey while 191 cases have been officially recorded, according to the Turkish health minister.