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'Everyone should be home with their families and loved ones in this critical time,' said Mikel [Getty Images]

Mikel Obi quits Turkish club over coronavirus fears

18 March 2020

The player’s contract was cancelled after his post on social media that he is no longer comfortable playing matches.

Former Chelsea footballer Mikel Obi has parted ways with his Turkish Super Lig club Trabzonspor after he refused to play due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The player’s two-year contract was cancelled on Tuesday following his social media post confirming he was not comfortable playing until the coronavirus outbreak was over.

“The professional football player agreement between our company and John Obi Mikel … has been mutually terminated. With a mutual termination agreement, the football player gave up all his forward-looking receivables,” Trabzonspor said in a statement on Tuesday.

In an Instagram post, Mikel called for the cancellation of the league, saying “there is more to life than football”.

“I do not feel comfortable and don’t want to play football in this situation. Everyone should be home with their families and loved ones in this critical time,” the former Nigerian national captain said. 

“Season should be cancelled as the world is facing such turbulent times,” he said.

League games in Turkey are still going ahead without fans present at stadiums. However, top leagues in England, Spain, Germany, Italy and France – as well as the Champions League and Europa League – have all been suspended.

The coronavirus pandemic has also forced the postponement of the European Championship and Copa America while also affecting other international sports events.

Meanwhile, Trabzonspor Club President Ahmet Agaoglu has opposed any cancellation or delay of the football league games.

“We are the leader right now … Trabzonspor should be declared champion,” Agaoglu told journalists.

A version of this report first appeared on Al Jazeera.

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