Bayer Leverkusen midfielder Hakan Calhanoglu feels he has been unfairly punished after a transgression committed six years ago at a different club saw him banned for four months.
The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) this week upheld a four-month suspension handed down by FIFA, which found him guilty of breaching a contract with Trabzonspor.
The offence relates to 2011, when he agreed to join the Turkish side before opting instead to extend his deal with German club Karlsruher.
The 22-year-old, who has been ordered to pay Trabzonspor €100,000 in compensation, was unable to hide his frustration with the decision, but has vowed to return stronger after his punishment.
“Hello all, you will have seen that CAS upheld FIFA’s decision to hand me a four-month suspension. That means I will unfortunately not be able to play for Bayer Leverkusen or Turkey’s national team in the second half of the season,” Calhanoglu said in a statement.
“The reason behind the ban is that I signed a contract with Trabzonspor back in 2011 at the age of 17, but then later on renewed my contract with Karlsruher, where I played at the time and who had an option to extend my deal.
“I was convinced at the time that my contract with Trabzonspor would only be valid if Karlsruher did not extend my deal or if both clubs reached an agreement over a transfer. Unfortunately, FIFA and CAS have decided different and have banned me, even though it became clear Trabzonspor also broke a number of FIFA rules by offering me a contract in the relevant circumstances.
“I find it therefore very hard to understand that I am not able to play for such a long time for something that happened six years ago when I was still underage.
“But I will accept this decision and focus on the future. I am convinced that I will come back stronger than before and will give my all for my club, the national team and my fans again.”