Russia bans sports clubs from signing Turkish players in winter break – The Guardian

Russian sports clubs will be banned from signing Turkish players during the upcoming winter break, the Russian sports minister Vitaly Mutko said on Sunday.

“I think that, if anyone wants [to sign a Turkish player] during the upcoming transfer window in the winter break, there will not be such a possibility,” Mutko, who is also president of the Russian Football Union (RFU), told the R-Sport news agency.

“We don’t need to jump too far ahead but [the clubs] have already got the message.”

Asked in clarification if the sports ministry was telling clubs not to sign Turkish players, Mutko replied: “Of course, absolutely.”

Russia introduced a raft of punitive economic measures against Turkey on Saturday after Turkey shot down a Russian war plane last week.

Mutko said the sports sanctions would not affect Turkish players currently playing for Russian clubs, including Rubin Kazan’s midfielder Gokdeniz Karadeniz who joined them in 2008.

“Everyone who has an existing contract will carry on working,” Mutko said.

Turkish companies already involved in constructing stadiums for the 2018 World Cup in Russia would be allowed to continue, he said. “They won’t be here in the future but at the moment they have contracts and these will not be looked into,” the minister said.

Earlier the sports ministry recommended that Russian soccer clubs cancelled winter training camps to Turkey. Several clubs, including Lokomotiv Moscow, Spartak Moscow, FC Krasnodar and Kuban Krasnodar said they would heed the advice.

Relations between the two countries have been strained since Tuesday’s incident near the Syrian-Turkish border in which a Russian pilot died. A Russian marine who tried to rescue the crew of the downed jet was also killed.

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