Ex Turkish football club president who punched referee is handed lifetime ban

Referee Halil Umut Meler holds his face as he lies on the ground after being punched by MKE Ankaragucu president Faruk Koca, center, at the end of the Turkish Super Lig soccer match between MKE Ankaragucu and Caykur Rizespor in Ankara, Monday, Dec. 11, 2023. The Turkish Football Federation has suspended all league games in the country after a club president punched the referee in the face at the end of a top-flight match. Koca was arrested Tuesday, Dec. 12, 2023, along with two other people on charges of injuring a public official following questioning by prosecutors. (Abdurrahman Antakyali/Depo Photos via AP)
Referee Halil Umut Meler on the ground after being punched by MKE Ankaragucu president Faruk Koca (centre). Credit: AP

The Turkish football team president who punched a referee, and has since resigned, has been handed a lifetime ban by the country's football federation.

Faruk Koca attacked referee Halil Umut Meler on Monday, after a 1-1 draw between his team and Caykur Rizespor in Turkey's top league.

Meler, was left with a small fracture near his eye following the incident.

Koca later resigned as president of MKE Ankaragucu football club. He was arrested for causing injury to a public official and two other people are facing charges for kicking the referee.

MKE Ankaragucu President Faruk Koca punched the referee. Credit: Getty

The football federation had initially suspended all league games before announcing that matches will resume next Tuesday.

It also said Ankaragucu has been fined £54,000 and will have to play five home games without fans.

The incident prompted widespread condemnation, including from Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and former top FIFA referee Pierluigi Collina, who described it as an example of "cancer" within football.

Buyukeksi said the attack was "unacceptable", adding: "We will not allow attacks or disproportionate pressure on our referees, who are an important part of the game."

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