HomeTurkish Super Lig to restart next week following attack on referee

Turkish Super Lig to restart next week following attack on referee

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The Turkish Super Lig will resume next Tuesday following a week-long suspension.

The league was halted in the wake of the attack on referee Halil Umut Meler by former Ankaragucu president Faruk Koca following Monday night’s draw against Rizespor.

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Koca resigns as Ankaragucu president and apologises to injured referee Meler

Koca and 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.

Koca was seen to floor Meler – who was released from hospital this morning – with a punch to the face before another man aimed a kick at the grounded official’s head.

The 59-year-old was arrested on Tuesday and later resigned his club post, issuing an apology in which he said: “After the match against Caykur Rizespor and, relating to my attitude towards referee Halil Umut Meler and his family in particular, I apologise to the Turkish refereeing community, sporting public and our nation.

“How and why the issue got to this point is irrelevant. No matter how great the injustice, nothing can legitimise or explain the violence that I committed.

“Sports fields should be a place for gentlemanly competition. Any attitude that casts a shadow on fair play, including my own, should not be present in stadiums or halls.

“As someone who has always taken constructive measures in this direction since the day I became Ankaragucu president, I feel great embarrassment for having done the exact opposite.

“I would like to announce that I have resigned from the Ankaragucu presidency in order to prevent any further harm to the club, the fans and my family.”

Turkish Football Federation president Mehmet Buyukeksi held a news conference this morning at which he explained there would be no matches this weekend, with those games now being played on January 10, with the league restarting next midweek.

The always hotly contested Istanbul derby between Fenerbahce and Galatasaray remains slated for Christmas Eve.

Buyukeksi said: “We announced that matches in all leagues were postponed indefinitely. With the decision we made today, all leagues will restart on December 19.

“Instead of complaining about each other, we believe that we will be successful together, as one, in unity, with common sense.

“We will continue to take the necessary steps for the future of Turkish football and solve the problems that need to be solved with our community.

“We will do this with all football stakeholders. I would like to express my gratitude to FIFA President Infantino, UEFA President Ceferin and UEFA Referee Committee President Collina, who have supported us in this process since the hour of the incident.”

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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