UEFA Executive Committee Member Servet Yardımcı criticized the two-match suspension handed to Turkish national team player Merih Demiral by UEFA’s Control, Ethics and Disciplinary Body (CEDB) for his wolf celebration during the Round of 16 match against Austria at Euro 2024, calling it an interference with football’s independence.

In a written statement to Anadolu Agency (AA), Yardımcı expressed his disappointment, stating, “I wish to emphasize that I find the punishment imposed on our national team player Merih Demiral by the UEFA Disciplinary Committee regrettable and unacceptable. Requesting punishment for a natural celebration after the end of a smoothly running tournament interferes with the independence of football.”

Yardımcı further evaluated, “Our player shared a moment of joy with Turkish fans in a natural expression of celebration after advancing to the quarterfinals of Euro 2024 with goals of his own and being named ‘Man of the Match.'”

Türkiye’s Merih Demiral celebrates after scoring his 0-2 second goal during the UEFA Euro 2024 round of 16 match between Austria and Türkiye, Leipzig, Germany, July 2, 2024. (EPA Photo)

“There is no element here that could offend opponents or any group,” Yardımcı emphasized. “The player also naturally expressed his emotions during the post-match press conference. Unless celebration methods disrespect or violate basic etiquette rules, players should not be penalized. While the Disciplinary Committee operates independently from UEFA management and makes decisions within its internal procedures, I strongly believe that it should rectify this mistake without further delay. As Türkiye, we must remain fully focused on showcasing all the beauties of football to the world during our quarter-final match at Euro 2024, without allowing anything to distract us from ‘Our Children’s’ journey to the final.”

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