Turkish football president hopes fans will return Super Lig games by July

Turkey's supporters wave flags prior the Euro 2020 football qualification match between Turkey and France at the Buyuksehir Belediyesi stadium in Konya, on June 8, 2019. (Photo by FRANCK FIFE / AFP) (Photo credit should read FRANCK FIFE/AFP/Getty Images)

Turkish football fans could return to the stands by July according to the country’s football federation president Nihat Ozdemir.

Ozdemir doubled down on his pledge to restart the Super Lig on June 12 and even claimed that supporters could return sooner than expected.

The games will initially be played behind closed doors as a measure against the spread of Covid-19.

There are eight rounds of matches remaining in the Turkish top-tier and Istanbul is also poised to host the Champions League final, which has been delayed as far as August due to the coronavirus disruptions across Europe.

Speaking to CNN Turk, Turkish Football Federation (TFF) president Ozdemir said that fans could return before the end of the current league campaign.

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Ozdemir said: “Thank goodness it’s going very well.

“There is almost a month between today and June 12. We have alternatives. Therefore, we do not have a time jam.

“The COVID-19 incident is also going very well. I always say this and pray to Allah Almighty, maybe we will play our matches in July, maybe with spectators.”

Turkey has had over 4,000 deaths and reported more than 148,000 coronavirus cases, according to World Health Organization figures.

Ozdemir’s plans could be hampered by recent coronavirus outbreaks in Turkish teams.

Ten people at Besiktas including club president Ahmet Nur Cebi tested positive for Covid-19.

Additionally, two people at Kasimpasa also contracted the virus.

“We never compromise on health. I believe the health of an athlete and a manager is more important than this league,” Ozdemir added.

“In a breathless league, we can only make the decision to complete the leagues by playing. Otherwise there would be a lot of controversy. Let’s make sacrifices, complete these leagues by playing, and find whoever deserves to be the champion. If it wasn’t for COVID-19 today, this week was the week the leagues would have ended.

“Maybe we were going to give the championship trophy this week.”