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Turkish football suspends all league matches following attack on referee

Turkish football news

The Turkish Football Federation has suspended all league matches in the country after a Turkish referee was punched at a game between Ankaragucu and Rizespor clubs in Ankara, Turkish Football Federation President Mehmet Buyukeksi said on Tuesday.

Ankaragucu President Faruk Koca hit referee Halil Umut Meler at the end of the 15th round match of Turkish Super Lig with Rizespor (1:1).

“The Turkish Football Federation held an urgent meeting. We postponed matches in all leagues indefinitely. This attack is a night of shame for Turkish football. We believe that Turkish football does not deserve this. We say enough is enough,” Buyukeksi was quoted as saying by Turkish newspaper Hurriyet.

After the final whistle, Koca ran onto the field with several people and bashed Meler in the face. The referee was kicked several times while lying on the grass and taken to hospital.

Ankaragucu later issued an apology for the incident. The outbreak of violence was condemned by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The president also made a phone call on Tuesday and wished a speedy recovery to soccer referee Halil Umut Meler, who was beaten up after a Turkish championship match on Monday.

“President Erdogan held a telephone conversation with Halil Umut Meler. He condemned the incident and wished him all the best,” Turkish Interior Minister Ali Yerlikaya told reporters.

Turkish Interior Minister Ali Yerlikaya also said that three people had been detained after the incident. Turkish Justice Minister Yilmaz Tunc said that that Koca and two other suspects had been arrested, adding that an investigation into the incident was launched.

Buyukeksi said that the referee could be released from hospital on Wednesday. Media reported that Meler said he would end his career.

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