Galatasaray played with COVID-19 infected players, says Efes coach
In a never-before-seen incident, the Turkish Basketball League hosted a match between two giants, Anadolu Efes and Galatasaray, despite knowing that some of the players of Galatasaray had tested positive for COVID-19.
“Galatasaray played against us with one or two of its players who tested positive. What a nonsense situation,” Ergin Ataman, the head coach of Anadolu Efes, said after a match in Sinan Erdem Sports Hall late on Feb. 6, criticizing the Turkish Basketball Federation.
The incident came to light when Galatasaray on Feb. 5 asked the federation to postpone the match, admitting that “the team had infected players.”
“Since we have only six healthy players, we will have to use COVID-19 positive players on the court tomorrow,” the team announced in an official statement published on the club’s website.
The federation refused the demand, reminding the decisions of the Health Ministry’s Science Board.
“Isolation period for someone infected is seven days. But if that person’s tests are negative at the fifth or the sixth, he can start training or play the next day,” the federation said in a statement late on Feb. 5 and asked Galatasaray to get its players tested again for COVID.
The statement sparked discussions among basketball fans, many asking on social media the “real reason behind the federation’s insistence.”
The federation did not step back and the match was played in front of an audience filling the hall with 16,000 seating capacity. Anadolu Efes won 103-91.
“For the last two days, we asked not to play. Some Galatasaray players had to play without any training before. This is not fair. Nothing is more important than human health,” Ataman said.
All eyes were on Galatasaray players amid the match, with people wondering which of them were positive.
At his interview after the match, Ekrem Memnun, the head coach of Galatasaray, highlighted the “adverse situation” the team faced.
“Most of the team’s tests were negative. We came to this point, leaving an illness behind. The energies of the players were low,” Memnun said without giving any number of the infected players or an answer to Ataman’s allegations.