Bayer Leverkusen central defender Emir Spahić is now former Bayer Leverkusen central defender Emir Spahić. The German Bundesliga club has parted ways with the Bosnia and Herzegovina international in the wake of a mid-week incident head-butting incident, Bayer announced on its website Sunday morning.
“We could no longer wait for the outcome of the legal investigation or a possible criminal case,” club CEO Michael Schade said in a statement released by the club. After Wednesday’s incident, Bayer indicated it would act when it “receives the results of the (police) investigation,” but four days later, Schade explained, “recent findings … left us with no choice.”
Spahić’s contract was due to expire in the summer of 2016.
The incident saw Spahić, while leaving Bayer’s BayArena field after his team’s penalty kick shootout loss to Bayern Munich, confront a group of fans and stewards near the stands. Footage shot by someone in attendance showed the 34-year-old launch himself head-first into the face of a security guard. Local Cologne-Leverkusen police continue investigating the incident for possible criminal charges.
“I regret my behavior after the cup match,” Spahić admitted in Bayer’s statement, which described the defender’s terminated contract as a mutual decision. “I want to apologize to the victims and their families.”
Players have done far worse than Spahić’s headbutt and kept their jobs, yet others have been released for far worse. The cynical reality of sports usually couples job security with talent, where an extremely valuable on-field contributor can perhaps racially abuse, maim, or try to eat other players with less severe repercussions.
Saphić wasn’t talented enough to survive his head-butt. His career is probably only over if he walks away, but if he returns to the field, it will be at a less-renowned club than Bayer Leverkusen.