Turkish Football in Chaos as Club President Assaults Referee, League Suspended

The entire Turkish football league has been suspended after a club president punched and hospitalized a referee following a match. President Faruk Koca of Super Lig’s MKE Ankaragucu attacked referee Halil Umut Meler after the final whistle of a 1-1 draw against Caykur Rizespor, resulting in Meler suffering non-life-threatening injuries, including bleeding around the eye and a small fracture, according to The Athletic.

In response to the incident, the Super Lig federation announced the indefinite suspension of all league games and called for an emergency meeting to address the violence. Federation chief Mehmet Buyukeksi condemned the attack, stating “enough is enough” and emphasizing the need for a fundamental change in the league’s culture of contempt towards referees in Turkey.

After Meler was discharged from the hospital, Buyukeksi insisted that it should be a “milestone” for a significant overhaul in the league. Minister of Internal Affairs Ali Yerlikaya also addressed the issue, questioning the purpose of competition in sports and advocating for fair play.

President Koca was arrested on Tuesday and subsequently issued a statement apologizing for his actions and announcing his resignation from the MKE Ankaragücü Presidency in order to prevent further harm to the club, fans, and community. He expressed hope that the incident would lead to a purification of the football community from mistakes, shortcomings, and the culture of violence.