HomeTurkish Super Lig suspended after Ankaragucu president punches referee in 'despicable' attack

Turkish Super Lig suspended after Ankaragucu president punches referee in ‘despicable’ attack

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The Turkish Football Federation (TFF) has suspended the country’s leagues indefinitely after Ankaragucu president Faruk Koca punched referee Halil Umut Meler after Monday’s Super Lig game against Rizespor.

Koca, as well as several other club officials, stormed onto the field at the end of the bad-tempered contest, which finished 1-1 after Rizespor striker Adolfo Gaich scored a stoppage-time equaliser.

Both teams had a player sent off in the game, with Ankaragucu being enraged by the decision to show forward Ali Sowe a second yellow card when he caught his marker with a trailing arm.

Footage shared on social media showed Koca flooring Meler – who has taken charge of three UEFA Champions League games this season – with a punch to the face before being dragged away.

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Another individual was then seen aiming a kick to the head of Meler, who was pictured with swelling under his eye after being helped to his feet.

In response to the incident, the TFF said all games would be postponed and pledged criminal proceedings would follow the “despicable” attack.

Their statement said: “We are following Halil Umut Meler’s health condition closely and wish a speedy recovery to our valuable referee.

“This inhumane and despicable attack was made against all stakeholders of Turkish Football. Everyone who has targeted referees and encouraged crimes against referees is complicit in this despicable crime.

“The irresponsible statements of club presidents, managers, coaches and TV commentators targeting referees have paved the way for this vile attack today.

“In coordination with our state, all criminal proceedings deserved have been initiated against those responsible and instigators of this inhumane attack.

“The responsible club, the club president, its managers and all the criminals who attacked Halil Umut Meler will be punished in the most severe way.

“By the decision of the Turkish Football Federation board of directors, matches in all leagues have been postponed indefinitely.”

Writing on X, formerly known as Twitter, Turkiye’s interior minister Ali Yerlikaya said individuals had been detained pending an investigation into the violence, while Meler was treated in hospital.

Jon Fisher
Jon Fisher
Jon has over 20 years' experience in sports journalism having worked at the Press Association, Goal and Stats Perform, covering three World Cups, an Olympics and numerous other major sporting events.

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