Turkish top-flight suspended after ‘vile, inhumane’ referee attack

Turkish top-flight suspended after 'vile, inhumane' referee attack0

The Turkish SuperLig has been banned indefinitely after Ankaragucu’s president attacked a referee after a 1-1 draw with Rizespor, the country’s football body (TFF) stated on Monday.

Ankaragucu leader Faruk Koca punched referee Halil Umut Meler in the face on the pitch after Monday’s game, leaving the official with a black eye.

“This vile attack was not only made against Halil Umut Meler,” the TFF said in a statement.

“Today, an inhumane and heinous attack was launched against all stakeholders in Turkish football.”

“All the criminal proceedings they deserve have been initiated in coordination with our State against those responsible and instigators of this inhumane attack.”

“The responsible club, the Club President, its managers, and all criminals who attacked Halil Umut Meler will face the harshest punishment.”

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

Rizespor had levelled in injury time before Koca entered the pitch and assaulted Meler.

Meler was attacked again while on the ground in the midst of a melee of players, coaches, and officials.

Meler was taken to a hospital for treatment of his injuries, according to local media.’Irreconcilable with violence’

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan criticised the event in Ankara, the capital city.

“Sports symbolises peace and brotherhood.” Sport is incompatible with violence,” Erdogan said on Twitter, which is being relaunched as ‘X’.

“We will never allow violence to take place in Turkish sports,” he went on to say.

The next round of the Turkish top flight, the 16th of 38, is set for next weekend.

Argentina striker Mauro Icardi, ex-Manchester United winger Wilfried Zaha, and former Manchester City forward Edin Dzeko all play in the SuperLiga.

Galatasaray, the league’s reigning champions and record 23-time winners, are in action on Tuesday as they travel to Copenhagen in a crucial Champions League match.

Fenerbahce, the SuperLig leaders, and Besiktas, the fifth-placed team, are also competing in continental competition this week, but in the Europa Conference League on Thursday.

After the draw, Ankaragucu are in 10th place in the table, four points behind Rizespor.

On Monday, Belgian giants Anderlecht and Standard Liege confirmed that games between the two clubs would be played without away fans until the end of the 2024/2025 season.

The Greek government announced that football matches will be played behind closed doors until February 12 in an effort to reduce violence at sporting events.

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