Turkey referee strike: Ankaragucu President Faruk Koca arrested after attack

There is “no possibility” that referee Halil Umut Meler will give up after a hit in a Turkish first division game, says Turkish Football Association head Mehmet Buyukeksi.

All leagues have been suspended, but the TFF announces they will resume on December 19th.

Meler was released from the hospital Wednesday with a swollen eye.

The 37-year-old is one of Turkey’s top referees and officiates international games for Fifa.

He is also on Uefa’s elite referee list and Buyukeksi said in a press conference on Wednesday that he still expects Meler to officiate at Euro 2024 in Germany.

“We expect Halil Umut Meler to take part in Euro 2024. There is currently no possibility of him giving up his refereeing duties,” Buyukeksi said.

Turkish football bosses suspended all leagues following the incident, but Buyukeksi added: “We had decided to postpone games in all leagues indefinitely. With the decision we made today, all leagues will resume on Tuesday, December 19th.”

This week’s postponed games will be played on January 10th.

After knocking Meler to the ground, Koca received several blows from others as he lay on the grass and suffered injuries including a minor fracture.

The incident sparked chaotic scenes between players and club officials.

Mehmet Yorubulut, chief physician at Acibadem Hospital, said Meler had a swollen eye but was in “good condition.”

Justice Minister Yilmaz Tunc said Koca and two other people were arrested after prosecutors made statements and a judicial control decision was issued against three other suspects.

Koca later issued a statement through Ankaragucu saying he had resigned as club president and apologized for his actions. He said he was “greatly embarrassed” by the “serious incident” he caused.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke to Meler in the hospital and said the incident left him “sad and disturbed.”

The TFF said Ankaragucu, its chairman, club officials and all those guilty of attacking the referee would be “punished in the harshest manner.”

FIFA President Gianni Infantino said the incident was “totally unacceptable” and that violence had “no place in our sport or our society.”

Match official Meler (center) was seen leaving hospital with a bruised eye in Ankara, Turkey, on Wednesday

Source : www.bbc.co.uk

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