Turkish Super Lig leaders Trabzonspor have been handed a one-season ban from European football for breaching UEFA Financial Fair Play regulations.

UEFA said in a statement on Wednesday that the club had failed to meet the conditions of a 2016 settlement agreement which required them to be "break-even compliant".

The governing body confirmed the ban would be applied if the club qualified for the Champions League or Europa League in either of the next two seasons.

Trabzonspor, who have not played since mid-March due to the coronavirus pandemic, are level on points with Istanbul Basaksehir at the Super Lig summit with eight games remaining.

John Obi Mikel has left Trabzonspor after having called for the Turkish Super Lig season to be cancelled amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The former Chelsea midfielder stated via Instagram on Saturday that he did not feel comfortable continuing with the domestic season while other competitions in Europe were postponed due to the outbreak.

There have been 98 confirmed cases of the virus in Turkey.

"There is more to life than football," he said. "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."

Trabzonspor have now confirmed Mikel's contract, which was due to run until May 31, 2021, had been terminated by mutual consent.

The former Nigeria captain, who retired from international football after the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations, joined Trabzonspor last July after a short spell with Middlesbrough.

Matches in the top flight in Turkey have continued this week despite professional football being postponed across much of Europe.

England, France, Spain, Germany and Italy are among the nations to pause their domestic seasons, while UEFA has put the Champions League and Europa League on hold.

Euro 2020 and the Copa America have been pushed back to next year to allow a chance for the 2019-20 club calendar to be completed.

There have been close to 200,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus worldwide and more than 8,000 deaths.

A "devastated" Daniel Sturridge has maintained innocence after he was given a worldwide ban from football for a breach of betting regulations.

Sturridge was initially banned for two weeks and fined £75,000 last July after a Regulatory Commission ruled he provided inside information to his brother Leon over a possible transfer from Liverpool to Sevilla, which did not materialise.

The Football Association (FA) challenged that punishment, in the belief that it was too lenient, and an independent Appeal Board hit Sturridge with another two charges, which had originally been dismissed.

Sturridge has now been banned from all football-related activity until June 17 and had his fine doubled to £150,000.

The 30-year-old revealed on Monday he cut short his spell with Trabzonspor because he is unable to play and says bookmakers should not be allowed to take bets on transfer moves.

He said in a video posted on Instagram: "I just want to say it's been a very long, drawn-out process over the last couple of years and difficult to concentrate on my football.

"It's also been a crazy few days. I'm going to continue to campaign for professional footballers to be able to speak to their families and close friends without the real risk of being charged.

"I feel it's the betting companies and the process of people being able to place bets on players moving clubs [that] has to be stopped.

"And although the appeal panel had recognised that I hadn't bet, nobody else had bet, I was still charged, so it was very disappointing and upsetting for me to hear the news that the appeal panel had overturned the original highly-qualified panel's ruling.

"With that being said, [it's] devastating for me and I'm absolutely gutted about it. My season's over and [I'm] devastated.

"I feel uncomfortable and I just don't think it's the right thing for me to be able to continue accepting wages from a team that I can't contribute to due to being banned and I have come to a mutual agreement with Trabzonspor to terminate my contract."

Daniel Sturridge has been hit with a worldwide ban until the end of the season after the Football Association (FA) successfully appealed against an original ruling over his breach of betting regulations.

Former Liverpool striker was originally hit with an effective playing ban of two weeks and fined £75,000 last July after a Regulatory Commission deemed he had provided inside information to his brother Leon over a possible transfer to LaLiga side Sevilla, which failed to come to fruition.

The FA launched a challenge against that ruling as the body felt it was too lenient a punishment. 

An independent Appeal Board has upheld the appeal, after finding the commission misapplied FA rules and proved two further charges against Sturridge that had originally been dismissed.

Consequently, Sturridge – who was released by Turkish side Trabzonspor on Monday – has been banned from all football-related activity until June 17 and had his fine doubled to £150,000.

"Daniel Sturridge has been suspended from all football and football-related activity from today until the end of 17 June 2020," an FA statement read.

"Following an appeal by The FA of the previous findings of the independent Regulatory Commission in this case, an independent Appeal Board has found that the Regulatory Commission misapplied The FA's Rules in relation to the use of inside information and made findings of fact which could not be sustained. 

"As a result, the Appeal Board has found proven two further charges which were originally dismissed. Other factual findings of the Regulatory Commission were left undisturbed.

"In relation to the sanction, the Appeal Board agreed with The FA that the penalty originally imposed on Mr Sturridge was unduly lenient and therefore increased his effective playing ban from two weeks to four months. The Appeal Board also doubled the fine to £150,000.

"FIFA has confirmed that the suspension will be of worldwide effect."

Earlier on Monday, it was confirmed Sturridge was leaving his three-year deal with Trabzonspor less than seven months after moving to Turkey following his release from Liverpool, where he spent six years.

Sturridge has eight goals in 26 England appearances.

Daniel Sturridge has cancelled his Trabzonspor contract by mutual consent less than seven months into a three-year agreement.

The former England striker joined the Turkish Super Lig club in August 2019 after his release from Liverpool.

Sturridge has scored seven goals in 16 appearances across all competitions this season.

A statement on Trabzonspor's website read: "The professional footballer contract signed between our company and our professional footballer Daniel Andre Sturridge, dated 21.08.2019 and ending 31.05.2021, has been mutually terminated.

"In accordance with the termination agreement, the football player gave up all his forward-looking rights and receivables."

It is unclear what Sturridge's next move will be but he has been linked with a switch to David Beckham's new MLS franchise Inter Miami, who lost their first professional match 1-0 to Los Angeles FC on Sunday.

Sturridge spent six years at Anfield, in which he scored 67 goals in 160 appearances, and has also represented Manchester City, Chelsea, Bolton Wanderers and West Brom.

The 30-year-old also has also scored eight goals in 26 England appearances.

Neymar is reportedly preparing a fresh strategy in his bid to return to Barcelona.

The Paris Saint-Germain star was linked heavily with a move back to Camp Nou during the close season but ended up staying with the Ligue 1 giants.

However, Neymar seemingly still has his eyes set on a return to LaLiga's reigning champions.

 

TOP STORY – NEYMAR PREPARES FRESH BARCELONA RETURN BID

Neymar is preparing a legal strategy to return to Barcelona, according to Sport.

The 27-year-old wants to make the move and let FIFA impose the compensation he will have to pay to PSG to be released, the report says.

Neymar has scored nine goals in 12 games this season, having struggled with injuries.

ROUND-UP

- Christian Eriksen is wanted by several European heavyweights. Inter have expressed an interest in the Tottenham midfielder, according to the Daily Mail. Manchester United, PSG and Juventus have also been linked to the Denmark international, who is out of contract at season's end.

- Staying at Spurs, Napoli and Ajax are preparing to move for Jan Vertonghen, according to The Telegraph. Vertonghen is also out of contract at the end of the season.

- After missing out on Dejan Kulusevski to Juventus, Inter are setting up to land two major transfers ahead of 2020-21. La Gazzetta dello Sport believes the Nerazzurri  will try to sign Fiorentina star Federico Chiesa and Brescia midfielder Sandro Tonali.

- While they are eyeing Barcelona midfielder Arturo Vidal, Inter will try to make Stefano Sensi's move from Sassuolo a permanent one in January, reports CalcioMercato. Sensi arrived on loan in July last year with an option to buy at the end of the season.

- Daniel Sturridge could be set for a return to the Premier League. The Sun claims Aston Villa could be set to offer the former Liverpool forward, who is playing for Trabzonspor, a return to England.

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