There’s still a way to go in the World Cup following the conclusion of the group stage – but not for one commentator who was sacked mid-match this week for a frowned-upon reference.
A World Cup commentator was brutally given the sack at half-time of Morocco’s 2-1 win against Canada.
Morocco were victorious on Thursday (December 1) to progress to the knockout stages as winners of Group F along with runners-up Croatia, while the end of Belgium’s golden generation was all but confirmed with their exit from the tournament.
It was a joyous day for the African nation – but not for commentator Alper Bakircigil, who lost his job mid-way through the match. After Hakim Ziyech had opened the scoring inside four minutes, the Turk reminded viewers on TRT that their nation holds the record for the fastest ever goal in World Cup history.
The problem was, that was scored at the 2002 edition in South Korea and Japan by Hakan Sukur – who after netting 51 goals in 112 international appearances went on to become a politician and was linked to terrorism.
Sukur and his family fled to the United States after he was accused of playing a role in a failed coup attempt in 2016, and he’s now working as an Uber driver.
The ex-striker was once a hero in his country but he’s still wanted for arrest by Turkish authorities, so Bakircigil’s reference to him was frowned upon by his employers.
According to Sport Bible, he took to Twitter after his sacking and wrote: “I was cut off from the TRT institution, where I worked proudly for many years, after the event that took place today. Separation is included in love. Hope to see you again. Goodbye.”
Bakircigil’s account has since been taken down.
Sukur, meanwhile, has always denied any wrongdoing. He told German news outlet Welt Am Sonntag: “I have nothing left. [Turkey president Recep Tayyip] Erdogan took everything.
“My right to freedom, my right to freedom of speech and my right to work. never did anything illegal. I am not a traitor or a terrorist.”
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