ISTANBUL (Reuters) - A leading Turkish soccer club have banned their players from growing beards after their chairman said they looked like students of Islamic vocational schools and set a bad example.
"I am 80 years old, and I shave every single day," Genclerbirligi Chairman Ilhan Cavcav said in explaining the reasoning for his club's decision to start issuing a fine of 25,000 lira (7,157.62 pounds) to any of their footballers with beards.
"Man, is this an imam-hatip school? You are a sportsman. You should be a model for the youth," he said in an interview with Dogan News Agency, complaining that his own 23-year-old grandson was negatively affected by the ever-growing number of beards in the football world.
As "bad examples," Cavcav mentioned Besiktas's Croatian coach Slaven Bilic, Galatasaray midfielder Selcuk Inan and Fenerbahce goalkeeper Volkan Demirel.
Cavcav said he had asked the Turkish Football Federation (TFF) chairman Yildirim Demiroren to adopt a nationwide beard ban for footballers.
"He told me that they could not impose such a restriction because the UEFA would not let them do it. I am fed up with this UEFA. I wish we had some other place to play our football," he added.
Cavcav's club came under fire this month after an Alevi Kurdish footballer left the country following a racist attack apparently motivated by his support on social media for Kurds fighting to defend a Syrian border town from Islamic State militants.
Deniz Naki, a dual German-Turkish national who has received online insults over his ethnic origins, was attacked in the Turkish capital Ankara, leaving him with bruises to his face.
(Writing by Ece Toksabay; Editing by Daren Butler and Ed Osmond)
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