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Super Lig suspended after Ankaragucu president punches referee

The Turkish Super Lig has been suspended indefinitely after Ankaragucu president punched a referee at the end of their home league match against Rizespor on Monday. 

The club’s president Faruk Koca struck Halil Umut Meler in the head after the final whistle at the Eryaman Stadium. 

The president ran onto the pitch and struck the official after Rizespor scored an injury-time equaliser. 

The referee was also kicked by others as he lay on the turf, suffering several injuries. 

Meler and Koca were reportedly taken to hospital following the incident, with the club’s president under guard and expected to be detained after treatment (h/t the Guardian). 

The Turkish Football Federation (TFF) has suspended all leagues in the country in the wake of the incident.

In a statement, the governing body said: “We are following Halil Umut Meler’s health condition closely and wish a speedy recovery to our valuable referee.

“This inhumane and despicable attack was made against all stakeholders of Turkish football.

“Everyone who has targeted referees and encouraged crimes against referees is complicit in this despicable crime.

“The irresponsible statements of club presidents, managers, coaches and television commentators targeting referees have paved the way for this vile attack today.

“In coordination with our state, all criminal proceedings deserved have been initiated against those responsible and instigators of this inhumane attack.

“The responsible club, the club president, its managers and all the criminals who attacked Halil Umut Meler will be punished in the most severe way.

“By the decision of the Turkish Football Federation Board of Directors, matches in all leagues have been postponed indefinitely.”

Ankaragucu issued an apology on social media platform X for the behaviour of their president. 

Meler is one of the top referees who has previously officiated in the Champions League and the Europa Conference League semi-final last season. 

Attacks on referees are nothing new, but it was shocking to see a club president running onto the pitch and striking an official. 

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