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Referee punched by president of Turkish club seen for first time since brutal attack (video)

Referee Halil Umut Meler was punched in the face at the end of yesterday’s match between Ankaragucu and Rizespor (Photo: Reuters)

The referee who was punched in the face by the president of a Turkish football club has been pictured for the first time since the shocking incident.

Two other men who had also ran on to the pitch with Koca then kicked Meler in the head while he was down on the ground.

The shocking scenes have led to the Turkish Football Federation announcing that matches across all leagues will now be postponed, calling the attack ‘inhumane and despicable’.

Meler was pictured in a neck brace in hospital on Tuesday morning, looking severely battered and bruised.

According to reports, he has suffered a fractured eye socket, bleeding in his left eye and a cheek fracture, but thankfully it is said that there is no permanent damage following further facial and neurological tests.

It is hoped that he can be discharged from hospital on Wednesday morning.

This incident occurred only shortly after it was announced that top-flight football in Greece will be played behind closed doors for the next two months.

This has been done in an effort to clamp down on violence at sporting events with increasing fears over the safety of fans, players and officials.

Turkey’s President Erdogan said in a statement: ‘I condemn the attack on referee Halil Umut Meler after the MKE Ankaragucu-Caykur Rizespor match played this evening, and I wish him a speedy recovery.

‘Sports means peace and brotherhood. Sports are incompatible with violence. We will never allow violence to take place in Turkish sports.’

FIFA president Gianni Infantino also weighed in to denounce the aggression.

‘There is absolutely no place for violence in football, on or off the field,’ he said.‘Events following the Turkish Super Lig match between MKE Ankaragucu and Caykur Rizespor are totally unacceptable and have no place in our sport or society.

‘Without match officials there is no football. Referees, players, fans and staff have to be safe and secure to enjoy the game, and I call on the relevant authorities to ensure that this is strictly implemented and respected at all levels.’

MKE Ankaragucu apologised for the attack by their president, issuing a statement which read: ‘We are saddened by the incident that took place this evening. We apologise to the Turkish football public and the entire sports community for the sad incident that occurred after the Caykur Rizespor match at Eryaman Stadium.’

Caykur Rizespor responded by condemning the attack and wishing Meler a speedy recovery. A statement on their website read: “We strongly condemn the undesirable events that occurred after the Ankaragucu match we played today.

‘We wish the entire referee community, especially the referee of the match, Halil Umut Meler, to get well soon.’

MKE Ankaragucu President Faruk Koca reacts as he leaves the field after the team’s Super Lig home match against Caykur Rizespor (Picture: Reuters)

Referee Halil Umut Meler holds his face as he lies on the ground after being punched by MKE Ankaragucu president Faruk Koca (Picture: AP)

Credit: metro


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