Turkish club president punches ref in the face and then hospitalised in mass brawl


A referee in the Turkish Super Lig was punched to the floor as Ankaragucu's match with Rizepor on Monday descended into chaos with a mass brawl on the pitch. The game ended 1-1 but not without controversy, as the home team took particular offence to the official's decisions before he was attacked afterwards.

Video on social media has emerged of referee Halil Umut Meler being punched in the face by Ankaragucu club president Faruk Koca. Reports from Turkey say that Koca has been detained and taken to hospital where he is under police protection.

The Turkish interior minister Ali Yerlikaya: “Faruk Koca is being treated in the hospital under the supervision of our police forces. After the treatment, detention procedures will be carried out.”

Once he was struck to the floor, Umut Meler was then kicked in the head as he attempted to protect himself while a mass brawl ensued surrounding him. He was seen holding his face and was sporting a black eye after security were able to calm the situation down.

The man in the middle was then taken to hospital after players had formed a cordon around him to protect him from further injury as he laid on the ground.

A controversial game saw Olimpiu Morutan open the scoring for the hosts in the 14th minute. But just before half-time, Ankaragucu went down to 10 men as Ali Sowe was sent off.

They appeared to be heading towards a well-earned three points despite the man disadvantage, especially when Rizespor's Emirhan Topcu was also shown a red card in the 95th minute.

But two minutes later, Adolfo Gaich dramatically equalised for the visitors before the stadium erupted into a fit of rage, with several club officials storming the pitch before the referee was attacked.

BeIN Sports, the league's official broadcaster, claimed that the Turkey Football Federation decided to hold an unprecedented emergency meeting following the incident.

Turkey's Minister of Youth and Sports, Osman Askin Bak, has condemned the attack on X (formerly known as Twitter). He wrote: "I strongly condemn the attack on the referee of the match, Halil Umut Meler, at the end of the MKE Ankaragucu-Caykur Rizespor match.

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