Turkish Club President Arrested for Assault on Referee; Turkish Super Lig Faces Indefinite Suspension

MKE Ankaragucu President Faruk Koca in Custody for Attacking Referee Halil Umut Meler

In a shocking turn of events, the president of Turkish club MKE Ankaragucu, Faruk Koca, has been arrested for assaulting referee Halil Umut Meler at the end of the Turkish Super Lig match against Caykur Rizespor. The incident has prompted the Turkish Football Federation (TFF) to suspend domestic football indefinitely, raising concerns about the future of football in the country.

Referee Meler, who was hit by Koca, was immediately taken to the hospital following the attack. Turkish Justice Minister Yilmaz Tunc announced on Tuesday that Koca had been arrested “for injuring and threatening a public servant due to his public duty.”

TFF president Mehmet Buyukeksi and Interior Minister Ali Yerlikaya visited Meler in the hospital in Ankara on Tuesday. Buyukeksi expressed that Meler was expected to be discharged on Wednesday but emphasized the gravity of the situation, stating, “This sad event should definitely not be forgotten. This should be a milestone.”

Buyukeksi further condemned the incident on behalf of the Turkish Football Federation and himself, promising to provide detailed information about the decisions made in the upcoming board meeting regarding the continuation of the league. He stressed that they could not accept the incident returning to its old state in two weeks.

In October, Turkey was awarded joint hosting rights for Euro 2032 alongside Italy, and Buyukeksi reassured that UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin had conveyed support and assured that Monday’s incident had not jeopardized the Euro 2032 project.

UEFA’s chief refereeing officer, Roberto Rosetti, strongly condemned the attack, stating, “Violence and abuse against referees have no place in football and must stop immediately.” He urged authorities and responsible disciplinary bodies to take decisive action against those involved in acts of abuse and violence against referees.

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Referee Meler, known for officiating in UEFA club competitions, was in charge of West Ham’s Europa Conference League semi-final first leg against AZ Alkmaar last season. The incident has sparked concerns about the mental health of referees, prompting calls for immediate and necessary actions against such acts in football.

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