[UPDATE] Turkish presidency denies reports on establishing amateur football team

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PHOTO: Yeni Akit

The Turkish presidential office on Thursday denied the establishment of a team that would start to play in an amateur football league in this season, the tr724 news website reported.

Turkish media reported on Wednesday that the Cumhurbaşkanlığı Spor (Presidency Sports Club) would join games as of mid-March.

The Turkish Confederation of Amateur Sports Clubs (TASKK) confirmed the news, and the registration appeared on the website of the Turkish Football Federation (TFF).

However, following the issuance of the presidential office statement, the TFF website removed the information about the team.

According to yesterday’s report Cumhurbaşkanlığı Spor was expected to go onto the pitch in red and white or turquoise jerseys, although it remained unclear whether they will feature Turkey’s presidential seal as a logo.

The team’s training sessions would be held at the presidential palace, and Sincan Stadium in Ankara would host their matches.

The news came after President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s recent comments in support of İstanbul’s Başakşehir, which is currently leading the Süper Lig, Turkey’s foremost professional football league.

“Başakşehir is really thriving. I am proud of it because it is a team I started. We had built it during my term as mayor [of İstanbul], and they have made great progress to get where they are now,” Erdoğan had told state broadcaster TRT.

Though Erdoğan’s remarks caused unhappiness among sports and political circles, he has long been perceived as Başakşehir’s sponsor.

“Galatasaray 2–Recep Tayyip Erdoğan 0” tweeted Meral Akşener, a Turkish opposition politician, after the İstanbul giant defeated Başakşehir last season, preventing it from winning the Süper Lig title.

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