Turkish league club president punches ref in face

Turkish side Ankaragucu’s president Faruk Koca punched referee Halil Umut Meler in the face at the end of their Super Lig home match after Rizespor scored a 97th minute equaliser on Monday.

Koca entered the field and hit the referee when the final whistle blew in the 1-1 draw at Eryaman Stadium, footage from state broadcaster TRT showed.

Ankaragucu fans invaded the pitch after the game and Meler was also kicked when he fell, though it was unclear who his assailants were. Meler eventually made it to the dressing room with the help of the police.

Turkey‘s football federation (TFF) has decided to hold an extraordinary meeting following the trouble, TRT said.

“Turkish football has been punched shamefully tonight. Everyone involved in this incident will pay the price,” TFF Chairman Mehmet Buyukeksi said, according to TRT.

A detention order has been issued for Koca, Interior Minister Ali Yerlikaya said in a post on X, adding that two people have already been detained as part of a judicial investigation into the incident.

A FIFA referee since 2017, 37-year-old Meler took charge of Lazio‘s Champions League group game with Celtic on Nov. 28.

Referees in Turkey are often criticised by club managers and presidents for their decisions, but are rarely the target of violent attacks.

Ankaragucu are 11th in the standings on 18 points, three places below Rizespor on 22 points after 15 matches.

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