Ankaragucu head Faruk Koca resigns after punching referee just after match

Wed, 13 Dec 2023 7:32 GMT
Turkish referee Halil Umut Meler collapsed to ground after being punched by head of football team based in country's capital.
Ankaragucu head Faruk Koca resigns after punching referee just after match

The president of Turkish Super Lig team MKE Ankaragucu on Tuesday resigned from his post after a shocking incident on Monday in which he punched one of the game referees.

"I resign from the MKE Ankaragucu presidency as of now to prevent any further harm to the Ankaragucu Club, their fans, the community I am in, and my family," said a press statement by Faruk Koca, who headed the club in Ankara, the Turkish capital.

"I would like you to know how I am deeply saddened that the club I manage, the football community, and our country are remembered with such an event and image," he added.

Koca, 59, was remanded into custody on Tuesday for punching Turkish referee Halil Umut Meler in the face after a Monday Super Lig match with visitors Caykur Rizespor that had ended in a 1-1 draw.

Following the final whistle, Koca walked onto the pitch to punch Meler, a FIFA-licensed referee, in the face.

Once the referee fell to the ground, several people also kicked him, and the 37-year-old referee was taken to an Ankara hospital.

In light of the incident, the Turkish Football Federation suspended all league matches until further notice.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan earlier said on X: "I condemn the attack on referee Halil Umut Meler after the MKE Ankaragucu vs. Caykur Rizespor match played this evening, and I wish him a speedy recovery.”


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