Turkish Club President resigns after attacking referee

President of Turkey’s Ankaragucu football club, Faruk Koca, has resigned following his attack on a referee during a match late Monday.

The top-flight SuperLig indefinitely suspended matches and a court placed Ankaragucu club president, Faruk Koca, and two others in pre-trial detention for “injuring and threatening a public official”.

Images of Monday night’s incident showed Koca rushing onto the pitch with a group of men and throwing a punch at referee Halil Umut Meler after he had blown the final whistle.

Koca appeared to be incensed at Meler for awarding a stoppage-time penalty kick that allowed visiting Caykur Rizespor to leave the capital with a 1-1 draw.

Meler fell to the ground and was kicked several times in the ensuing melee.

The 37-year-old match official was shown standing minutes later with a black eye that had swelled up the left part of his face.

He released a statement after being rushed to hospital saying Koca had threatened his life.

“Faruk Koca punched me under my left eye and I fell to the ground. While I was on the ground, they kicked my face and other parts of my body many times,” Meler said in a statement.

Koca resigned as club president on Tuesday but insisted that his team was cheated by the referee.

“No matter how great an injustice or how wrong (the officiating) was, nothing can legitimise or explain the violence that I perpetrated,” Koca said in a club statement.

“I apologise to the Turkish refereeing community, the sports public and our nation,” Koca added.


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