Turkish Super Lig Referee Punched by Club President

The Turkish Football Federation (TFF) has decided to suspend all leagues following a violent incident that happened at the end of the Super Lig match between MKE Ankaragucu and Caykur Rizespor. The Ankaragucu’s president, Faruk Koca, physically attacked referee Halil Umut Meler after the match concluded in a 1-1 draw.

Turkish Super Lig Referee Punched by Club President

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The incident took place at Eryaman Stadium, where Rizespor secured a last-minute equalizer in the 97th minute, leading to a tense atmosphere.

As the final whistle blew, Koca, visibly enraged by the late goal, entered the field and struck referee Meler in the face. The act was captured on camera.

The TFF condemned the incident, describing it as a night of shame for Turkish football. TFF Chairman Mehmet Buyukeksi announced the suspension of all leagues, addressing the severity of the attack and the need for accountability.

The decision to suspend the leagues reflects the situation and the need to address the violence in Turkish football.

Justice Minister Yilmaz Tunc revealed that a Turkish court has ordered the arrest of Faruk Koca, the Ankaragucu president, on charges of injuring a public official.

Two additional suspects were also remanded in custody in connection with the incident. The investigation is ongoing, with Tunc affirming an examination of the case.

The court proceedings started on Koca’s perspective, as he stated, “My aim was to react verbally to the referee and spit in his face.

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At this time, I slapped the referee in the face.” Koca went on to downplay the severity of the attack, stating that the slap would not cause a fracture and his removal from the scene due to a pre-existing heart condition.

The attack saw Ankaragucu fans invading the pitch, further complicating the situation. Referee Meler, already injured from the initial attack, was reportedly kicked while lying on the pitch.

The identity of his assailants remains unclear. The overall atmosphere at the stadium escalated into chaos. TFF Chairman Buyukeksi said that the incident to a toxic culture surrounding referees in Turkish football.

He stated, “The despicable attack is a result of a years-long toxic culture towards referees fostered by many players and club officials.”

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan joined the chorus of condemnation, expressing his disapproval of the attack on referee Halil Umut Meler.

Erdogan addressed the principles of sports as promoting peace and brotherhood, asserting that violence has no place in Turkish sports.

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FIFA President Gianni Infantino said these sentiments, condemning the unacceptable events need for a secure and violence-free environment in football.

Referee Meler, a FIFA referee since 2017, suffered injuries during the attack, including a minor fracture. He was transported to the hospital for treatment, where Chief Physician Dr. Mehmet Yorubulut provided an update on his condition.

Dr. Yorubulut assured that there is no life threatening situation, and Meler’s injuries are being monitored. Galatasaray, one of Turkey’s teams, convened an emergency meeting to address the issue of violence in Turkish football.

The Association of Active Football Referees and Observers of Turkey issued a call for all referees to protest by refraining from taking the field, addressing that the attack was not only against Meler but the entire referee community.

The TFF announced that Ankaragucu and its management would face severe punishments. The penalties will be deliberated in decision making committees.

The attack on referee Meler has spread beyond the borders of Turkey, making global football leaders to weigh in on the matter.

FIFA President Infantino called the events totally unacceptable and addressed the importance of match officials in the sport.

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