Leverkusen midfielder Calhanoglu forgoing salary during ban

AP Photo/Frank Augstein

LEVERKUSEN, Germany (AP) Bayer Leverkusen midfielder Hakan Calhanoglu will forgo his salary and bonuses for the duration of his four-month FIFA suspension for breach of contract.

“Bayer had nothing to do with the events at the time. But the club is hit hard by the penalty in a sporting and financial way. That’s why it’s evident to me not to harm the club any further,” Calhanoglu said in a Leverkusen statement Tuesday.

The 22-year-old Turkey international was a youth player at Karlsruhe when he was paid 100,000 euros after agreeing to sign for Turkish club Trabzonspor. But he extended his contract with Karlsruhe in 2011 and went on to join Hamburger SV in 2013. He switched to Leverkusen in 2014.

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Calhanoglu’s appeal against the FIFA ban was denied last week by the Court of Arbitration for Sport, which ruled Calhanoglu must also pay 100,000 euros ($108,000) in compensation to Trabzonspor.

Leverkusen has criticized the timing of the ban, which means Calhanoglu will miss the club’s Champions League matches against Atletico Madrid and the rest of the Bundesliga season.

“Although Bayer Leverkusen had nothing to do with the events in 2011, we are now being heavily punished. Now we’re missing a very important player during a decisive part of the season,” Leverkusen sporting director Rudi Voeller said.

The club said Calhanoglu would continue to train with the team, that “he will support his teammates as a fully fledged team member to the best of his ability even without competitive games,” and that it will help Calhanoglu maintain his athletic performance.

Calhanoglu is also suspended for Turkey’s World Cup qualifying match at home against Finland on March 24.