Antalyaspor’s Sagiv Yehezkel faces contract termination after pointing to his wrist in a goal celebration, invoking controversy over war sentiments.

Who is Sagiv Yehezkel?

Sagiv Yehezkel (x/@yosephhaddad)

In a recent Turkish Super Lig match against Trabzonspor, Antalyaspor’s Sagiv Yehezkel found himself at the center of a controversy that could lead to the termination of his contract with the club. The Israeli midfielder scored a crucial goal in the 68th minute, equalizing the score to 1-1, but it was his subsequent celebration that sparked outrage.

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Yehezkel’s gesture involved pointing to his wrist, intended as a tribute to those affected by war. However, the club, particularly President Sinan Boztepe, swiftly responded with a strong statement condemning the player’s actions. Boztepe expressed sadness and surprise, emphasizing that such behavior goes against the sensitivities of Antalya, Antalyaspor, and the country itself.

Club President Boztepe stated, “Our national values are above everything. No matter how much the football player earns for us, we will most likely leave him out of the squad and terminate his contract.” He made it clear that he will not tolerate actions contrary to the principles he upholds during his term.

The controversy escalated when Boztepe revealed that Yehezkel’s contract termination could be imminent, underlining that national values take precedence over individual success on the field. The president further emphasized that he views football players as athletes without discrimination, but actions that may cause speculation or controversy will not be tolerated.

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Sagiv Yehezkel, born in Rishon LeZion, Israel, has had a diverse career, playing for various Israeli clubs before joining Antalyaspor in 2023. Known for his versatility as a right-back and winger, Yehezkel’s off-field actions have now put his future with the Turkish club in jeopardy. As the situation unfolds, the football community awaits further developments regarding the termination of Yehezkel’s contract with Antalyaspor.