Club president punches referee following equaliser

The president of a top Turkish football club sparked outrage after punching a referee in the face.

Ankaragucu President Faruk Koca launched a brutal attack on match official Halil Umut Meler shortly after the 1-1 draw against Rizespor.

A number of players, coaches, and security forces hurried to the scene, intervening to stop the attack. Meler trembled and, with assistance, regained his footing. After the incident it was established that he had a swollen eye.

The match concluded 1-1 as Rizespor equalized in the last minute against Ankaragucu, who had been on the verge of victory after scoring the opening goal.

The Turkish Football Federation (TFF) condemned the attack and declared the indefinite suspension of all matches.

According to Turkey’s Minister of Justice, Yilmaz Tunc, a judicial investigation has been opened “into those responsible” for this unprovoked attack.

Turkish Interior Minister Ali Yerlikaya announced that Koca is being treated in a hospital under the supervision of security forces, and detention procedures will be followed.

Yerlikaya then added

“I strongly condemn the attack on referee Halil Umut Meler at the end of the MKE Ankaragucu-Çaykur Rizespor match. Such incidents are unacceptable on our green fields, which are the land of peace and friendship. We are following this sad event.”

“I offer my best wishes to our referee Halil Umut Meler, who successfully represents Turkish refereeing abroad.”

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