Turkish soccer club president arrested for punching referee

Soccer Football - Super Lig - MKE Ankaragucu v Caykur Rizespor - Eryaman Stadium - Ankara, Turkey - December 11, 2023 Referee Halil Umut Meler lies on the ground at the end the Turkish Super Lig soccer match between MKE Ankaragucu and Caykur Rizespor REUTERS/Abdurrahman Antakyali/Depo Photo/File Photo

Faruk Koca, the president of the top-tier Turkish soccer team Ankaragucu, was taken into custody on Tuesday for striking a referee in the face after a match. The official disclosed to the police that Koca had threatened to murder him.

An outbreak of violence occurred at the Super Lig team’s home match versus Rizespor on Monday evening, which led to the arrest resulting from the incident.

The state-owned Anadolu news agency said that referee Halil Umut Meler, who was also kicked while lying on the ground, stated that Koca had also threatened him and his colleagues. Meler was also kicked while lying on the pitch.

Faruk Koca struck me in the area of my left eye, knocking me to the ground. During the time that I was lying on the ground, other individuals kicked me many times in the face as well as in other places of my body,” he stated.

Koca told me and my coworkers, “I will finish you,” and we agreed. “I will kill you,” he vowed to me, addressing me specifically.

In addition to the arrest judgment, the Turkish court that issued the decision also remanded two additional suspects in detention in connection with the event.

“The referee’s inappropriate decisions and provocative behavior led to the occurrence of this incident,” this statement reads. According to Demiroren News Agency, Koca told the court he intended to respond to the referee and spit in his face.

Immediately following Ankara’s “shameful” event, the Turkish Football Federation (TFF) announced that it had halted all leagues.

According to Yilmaz Tunc, the minister of justice, the criminal prosecution obtained statements from Koca and two other people before formally detaining them for “injuring a public official.”

“The investigation is continuing meticulously,” he wrote on social networking site X, adding that court restrictions have been put on three more suspects. “The investigation is continuing meticulously.”

According to the clip, Koca entered the pitch and attacked Meler just as the final whistle sounded after Rizespor scored an equalizer in the 97th minute of the match played at Eryaman Stadium.

According to the video that was shared by the ministry, the referee was seen lying in a hospital bed with a neck brace and a swollen face.

“The bleeding in Meler’s left eye started to decrease,” said Mehmet Yorubulut, head doctor of Acibadem Hospital. “There will be no permanent damage,” Yorubulut added.

There will be progressive healing of the fracture there. ” There is no evidence of brain damage,” he stated, adding that he is expected to be released from the hospital on Wednesday.

The club president, Koca, was a member of the AK Party, the dominant party in Turkey, and he was elected to the Turkish parliament on two separate occasions.


Once the game was over, the film indicated that Ankaragucu supporters had entered the field, and Meler had also been kicked when he injured himself. After some time, with the assistance of the police, he made it to the dressing room.

According to the federation’s news release, Ankaragucu, its chairman, club officials, and anyone responsible for assaulting the referee will receive “punishment in the strongest terms possible.”

The incidents that took place after the match were described as “totally unacceptable and have no place in our sport or society” by Gianni Infantino, the President of FIFA.

“Without match officials, there is no football,” said the commentator.

Meler, 37 years old and a FIFA referee since 2017, was in charge of the Champions League group game that Lazio played against Celtic on November 28.

Referees in Turkey are frequently subjected to criticism from team managers and presidents for the judgments they make, although they are rarely the target of physical violence.

With 15 matches under their belt, Ankaragucu is now ranked eleventh with 18 points, three places behind Rizespor, who has 22 points. It is unknown when the Super League matches will start back up again.

Hi, I'm John, a seasoned sports writer with a passion for football. With over 10 years of experience covering the NFL, I provide in-depth analysis and engaging writing that keeps readers informed and entertained.

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