Turkish coach leaves Iranian club over protests
An experienced Turkish football coach has left his Iran’s Tractor Football Club over recent nationwide violent protests.
Mustafa Denizli, who has coached all Turkey’s major clubs as well as the country’s national team, told Anadolu Agency that he decided to leave Tractor after the club was unable to play some matches due to the protests and the players sometimes had to sleep on the team bus.
“I’m psychologically exhausted. I wanted to leave earlier but the club board didn’t allow it,” he said.
The 70-year-old said this season the team was doing well and might have climbed to the top of the Iranian league if not for missing matches.
Tractor Football Club is currently in the eight spot in the Persian Gulf Pro League standings, with five wins, three draws in 11 games to garner 18 points. It now sits seven points behind leader Esteghlal FC.
Tractor hired Denizli this June 2019 for a year-long tenure.
At least 208 people in Iran have been killed since protests broke out last month over government fuel price hikes, according to Amnesty International.
Demonstrations broke out across Iran on Nov. 15 after the government imposed petrol rationing and raised fuel prices by at least 50 percent.
At least 100 banks and dozens of shops have been set ablaze during the protests, the semi-official Mehr news agency said, quoting security officials.
Although there are no official figures, the Fars news agency said more than 1,000 protesters have been arrested.