Istanbul: The chairman of Turkish football club Genclerbirligi has vowed to fine any of his players who have beards after claiming some looked like students of an Islamic school.
"I`m 80 and I shave every day," said Ilhan Cavcav, chairman of the Ankara-based club which is currently ninth in the first division.
"Is this an imam school? You are a sportsman. You should be a model for the youth," he said in an interview with the Dogan news agency.
Genclerbirligi will fine any player who takes to the pitch with a beard 25,000 Turkish lira (around 9,000 euros or $11,200).
Cavcav cited as "bad examples", the bearded Croatian coach of Besiktas, Slaven Bilic, and the same club`s midfielder Olcay Sahan.
Volkan Demirel, the goalkeeper of reigning Turkish champions Fenerbahce, is another full-bearded player who has sparked Cavcav`s ire.
He said he had appealed to Yildirim Demiroren, the Turkish Football Federation chairman, to bring in a nationwide ban on footballers having beards.
"He told me that they could not impose such a restriction because UEFA would not let them do it. I am fed up with this UEFA. I wish we had some other place to play our football," he said.
Turkey`s government is often accused by its critics of trying to make Turkish society more Islamic.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who was educated in a religious school, sports a thick moustache in common with many Turkish men, but not a beard.