Turkish football league suspended after club prez punches ref

Turkish football league suspended after club prez punches ref

The entire Turkish football league has been suspended after a club president punched – and hospitalized – a referee after a match.

Faruk Koca, president of Super Lig’s MKE Ankaragucu, attacked referee Halil Umut Meler after the final whistle of a 1-1 draw against Caykur Rizespor Monday night. The referee fell to the ground and was later kicked as fans invaded the pitch following a last-minute Rizespor equalizer.

According to The Athletic, Meler suffered non-life-threatening injuries, including bleeding around the eye and a small fracture.

Following the incident, the Super Lig federation announced it was suspending all league games indefinitely and called for an emergency meeting to discuss the violence.

“This attack is unfortunate and shameful in the name of football,” said federation chief Mehmet Buyukeksi after the meeting, according to NBC News. “We say enough is enough.”

Buyukeksi later insisted all involved in the violence and that the attack stemmed from a “culture of contempt” towards referees in Turkey.

When the Turkish Football Federation (TFF) announced that Meler was discharged from the hospital, Buyukeksi also insisted that this must be a “milestone” to lead to a fundamental change in the league.

“Friends, why do we do sports? Are we just saying it because it is a matter of heroism? Sport is about unity, solidarity and brotherhood,” said Minister of Internal Affairs Ali Yerlikaya, in a translation of the TFF’s post to X. “Why do we want competition in sports, why do we say fair play? When we don’t like a decision, do we have to suddenly turn into something else?”

Yerlikaya later added that the matter is now being handled in court.

Koca was arrested on Tuesday. 

In a statement, he apologized and announced his resignation.

“As someone who has always taken constructive initiatives in this direction since the day I became the MKE Ankaragücü Presidency, I feel great embarrassment for having caused the creation of an exactly opposite environment,” he said. “I would like to announce to the public that I have resigned from the MKE Ankaragücü Presidency in order to prevent any further harm to the Ankaragücü club, Ankaragücü fans, the community I am in and my family.

“I hope that this incident, which I, more than anyone else, cannot accept, will be a reason for our sports life, especially our football community, to be purified from mistakes, shortcomings and the culture of violence.”

Original source here

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About the Author

Anthony Barnett
Anthony is the author of the Science & Technology section of ANH.