Leverkusen deny forcing Calhanoglu to play


Bayer Leverkusen have rubbished reports that Hakan Calhanoglu has been threatened with a fine and forced to play after the death of his grandmother.

Leverkusen travel to Werder Bremen on Saturday and will have the Turkey playmaker in their squad, despite his family bereavement.

Reports in Turkey had suggested that Leverkusen had not given their player permission to return home for the funeral, but sporting director Rudi Voller says the decision was Calhanoglu's alone.

"A fine? This is complete invented nonsense," Voller told Bild.

He added in a statement released on social media: "Hakan informed us about the bereavement in his family. Of course, we had given him the opportunity to travel to the funeral.

"However, in agreement with his family, it was Hakan's own decision to stay with the team. 

"We are facing an important game, that is why he decided for himself to stay.

"We respect this decision. All the other claims that the club had exerted pressure on Hakan are lacking any foundation."