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Israeli pair in Turkey facing eight-match bans for ‘ideological propaganda’ relating to Israel-Gaza war

Israeli footballers Sagiv Jehezkel and Eden Kartzev are facing bans of up to eight matches for “ideological propaganda” relating to the Israel-Gaza war.

Jehezkel has been excluded from the Antalyaspor squad after displaying a message of support for Israeli hostages taken during the Hamas attack on October 7 and has been deported back to Israel.

The 28-year-old celebrated a goal on Sunday by revealing a message on a wrist bandage which read ‘100 days. 07/10’ — referring to the 100 days which have passed since the Hamas attack on Israel on October 7 — and a Star of David. Kartzev also posted about the 100 days on social media, prompting an investigation by his club Istanbul Basaksehir.

The Turkish Football Federation (TFF) has now referred both players to the Professional Football Disciplinary Board (PFDK) for potential breaches of Article 42 of the Football Disciplinary Instruction, citing their “ideological propaganda”.

That article refers to “discrimination based on race, language, religion, ethnicity or any other form of discrimination harming human dignity” and states that players could face bans of between four and eight matches if found guilty. Should either or both Jehezkel and Kartzev be hit with such a ban of four games or more, the TFF is obliged to inform FIFA and the suspension will apply worldwide.

Kartzev is in discussions with Basaksehir about a loan deal away from Turkey.

Jehezkel, meanwhile, is already back in Israel having been repatriated by the Turkish government earlier this week. Ramzi Safuri, Jehezkel’s compatriot at Antalyaspor, is also considering options regarding a move away from Turkey.

Jehezkel’s celebration in particular attracted widespread criticism in Turkey, with the TFF indicating its support to Antalyspor in excluding him from their squad for “behaviour against the sensitivities of our country”.

Turkey’s justice minister Yilmaz Tunc also criticised Jehezkel but Israel’s defence minister Yoav Gallant hit back and criticised “the scandalous arrest” of the player as “an expression of hypocrisy”.

As reported by broadcaster NTV, via the Reuters news agency, Jehezkel gave a statement through a translator on Monday to insist that he was “not pro-war” and he did not “move to provoke” with his gesture.

(Ahmad Mora/DeFodi Images via Getty Images)

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