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‘I don’t want to play football’ – Ex-Chelsea star Mikel calls for Turkish season to be cancelled amid coronavirus outbreak

16:37 GMT+3 14/03/2020
John Obi Mikel, Kasimpasa v Trabzonspor 08182019
The Nigerian midfielder is currently on the books at Trabzonspor and has called on the relevant authorities to follow the lead of other nations

Former Chelsea star John Obi Mikel, who is now on the books at Trabzonspor, says he does “not feel comfortable” playing amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and has called on authorities in Turkey to cancel the rest of the season.

Leading divisions across Europe and around the world have shut down amid concerns regarding the spread of Covid-19.

La Liga, Serie A, Bundesliga, Ligue 1, MLS, Eredivisie and the Premier League have all taken the decision to postpone matches for the foreseeable future.

The Turkish Super Lig is yet to take similar action, with games due to play out as planned this weekend – with Trabzonspor set to face fellow title hopefuls Istanbul Basaksehir on Sunday.

No plans are in place to suspend games in the region, while stadiums are also keeping their doors open for fans to attend.

Mikel admits to feeling uncomfortable at being forced to take the field against his will, with it the opinion of the 32-year-old midfielder that the 2019-20 campaign should be brought to a premature conclusion.

He has posted on social media: “There is more to life than football.

“I do not feel comfortable and don’t want to play football in this situation.

“Everyone should be home with their families and loved ones in this critical time.

“Season should be cancelled as the world is facing such turbulent times.”

Mikel’s message has garnered support from fellow members of the professional football ranks.

Colombian striker Radamel Falcao is another currently plying his trade in Turkey.

The 34-year-old frontman is part of the squad at Galatasaray, with the Istanbul-based giants due to take in a meeting with Besiktas on Sunday.

Falcao said when replying to Mikel’s post: “You are right John. Life is more important than football.”

Those calls continue to fall on deaf ears for now, with there seemingly little chance of action in Turkey being brought to a halt.

That may happen at some stage, with authorities in Germany having shifted their stance considerably after initially planning to let games go ahead behind closed doors.

As more players, coaches and officials continue to contract coronavirus, Mikel will be hoping to see his wish granted – avoiding the need for him to consider drastic action as an individual.