Club Prez Punches Referee In The Face

Abhorrent scenes started when the president of Ankaragucu (INSET) punched the referee in the face


The Turkish Football Federation (TFF) has suspended all leagues on a night of “shame” for the nation’s football after Ankaragucu’s president Faruk Koca punched the referee in the face at the end of their Super Lig home match against Rizespor.

A Turkish court has ordered Koca’s arrest after he entered the field and hit referee Halil Umut Meler when the final whistle blew after Rizespor scored a 97th minute equaliser in the 1-1 draw at Eryaman Stadium on Monday, footage from state broadcaster TRT showed. Two others were also formally arrested for “injuring a public official,” Justice Minister Yilmaz Tunc said.

Ankaragucu fans invaded the pitch after the game and Meler was also kicked when he fell, though it was unclear who his assailants were. Meler eventually made it to the dressing room with the help of the police.

“The Turkish Football Federation has decided to suspend all games in all leagues indefinitely,” the federation posted on X, formerly known as Twitter.

“The related club, the club chairman, club officials and all those guilty of attacking referee Umut Meler will be punished in the strongest terms possible.”

FIFA President Gianni Infantino said the events that took place after the match were “totally unacceptable and have no place in our sport or society”.

“Without match officials, there is no football,” he added.

A FIFA referee since 2017, 37-year-old Meler took charge of Lazio’s Champions League group game with Celtic on November 28.

Referees in Turkey are often criticised by club managers and presidents for their decisions, but are rarely the target of violent attacks.

Ankaragucu are 11th in the standings on 18 points, three places below Rizespor on 22 points after 15 matches.