Football team of Kurdish-majority town withdraws from league citing Discrimination

Cizrespor, a football club from Turkey’s Kurdish-majority town of Cizre, announced late on Saturday that it was withdrawing from the third division of Turkish football league as a result of continued discrimination, Gazete Duvar news reported.

“We cannot stand up to the unlawful practices of the Turkish Football Federation (TFF) and Central Referee Authority (MHK). Following the decision of our president we are withdrawing from the league due to the unfair and biased treatments we have been facing in home and away games and referees’ nationalist attitudes”, the football club said in a statement.

The decision to pull out of the league came after Cizrespor lost 1-0 at home to Agrispor on Saturday.

Cizrespor’s president Maruf Sefinc condemned TFF’s and MHK’s alleged unfair stance against them and said they will officially file a withdrawal request on Monday, the Yeni Yasam news portal reported.

Gazete Duvar quoted Sefinc, who was speaking at a press conference, as saying: “We are a football team and we have been struggling to do something good. However, we can no longer accept referees’ ill-intentioned practices and unfair decisions. We are just seeking justice. We already have submitted objections to the MHK but, they have ignored them. When football clubs from eastern provinces compete in the title race, they find themselves subjected to big unfairness.”

Cizrespor came under the spotlight in 2018 over a racist incident in the game against Turkey’s western Serikspor. When Cizrespor scored the first goal of the game a Turkish flag was displayed on scoreboard and a piece of nationalist music was played in the stadium, Yeni Yasam news reported.

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