Turkish football officials suspended all leagues on Monday after a referee received a punch to the floor from a club president, following a game in the top flight.
Halil Umut Meler received a blow from MKE Ankaragucu President Faruk Koca who ran onto the pitch following his team’s 1-1 Super Lig tie with Caykur Rizespor.
At a press conference, Turkish FA [TFF] Chairman Mehmet Buukeksi said: “The matches have been postponed forever.”
He added, “This attack was a night to shame Turkish football.”
Fifa President Gianni Infantino described the incident as “totally inacceptable” and stated that violence “has no place in our sport, or society”.
He said, “There is no football without match officials.” “Referees and players must be in a safe environment to enjoy the sport. I urge the authorities to enforce this at all levels. “
Meler was hit by others while laying on the grass and sustained injuries, including a minor broken bone.
The incident caused chaos among players and officials of the club.
Koca was hospitalized and “detention procedures would be implemented after treatment”, according to the Turkish Minister of Internal Affairs, Ali Yerlikaya.
Yerlikaya said that others were arrested for their role in the incident. He “strongly condemns” this.
Meler is a 37-year-old referee who has been working for Fifa since 2005. Meler is also a member of Uefa’s elite list of referees.
The chief physician at the hospital, Dr Mehmet Yurubulut said that he also needed hospital treatment. “At the moment, there is no threat to his life.” There is only a little fracture and some bleeding around the left eye.
We will monitor our referee till the morning because of head trauma. After the morning examinations, we will discharge him. “
“Inhumane, despicable and violent attack”
Recep Tayyip Erdoan, the president of Turkey, responded to the shocking events. “I condemn this attack on the referee Halil Umut Meler, after the MKE Ankaragucu – Caykur Rizespor game played tonight. I wish him speedy recovery,” said Erdogan.
“Sports is peace and brotherhood” Sport and violence are incompatible. Sport and violence are incompatible. “
The home club MKE Ankaragucu has expressed regret over the actions of their president, stating in a press release: “We’re saddened by what happened this evening.”
“We apologize to the Turkish Football Public and the entire Sports Community for the tragic incident that took place after the Caykur-Rizespor match played at Eryaman Stadium. “
Caykur Rizespor expressed their support for Meler, and general dismay. They stated: “We strongly condemned the undesirable events which occurred after our match against Ankaragucu today.
We wish Halil Umut, the referee for the match, and the entire refereeing community, a speedy recovery. “
TFF has taken a definite course of action in order to make Turkish football a safer environment.
TFF Chairman Buyukeksi said: “Football games are not wars, and there is no end to them. All teams cannot be champions simultaneously. This is something we all must understand. We all need to understand this.
He stated that the penalties would be discussed by the relevant decision-making Committees beginning on Tuesday.
The TFF issued a statement about the “inhumane” and “despicable” attack, saying that irresponsible comments made by club presidents and managers, coaches, and TV commentators towards referees had paved the path for today’s vile assault.
In coordination with the State, we have started implementing all criminal proceedings against those who are responsible for this inhumane assault. All criminals, including the club’s president, managers, and other members of staff, who were responsible for attacking Meler, will be punished severely. “
Galatasaray is one of Turkey’s largest clubs. They had called an emergency meeting earlier to discuss what they believe to be a growing problem in Turkish football.
A Galatasaray press release stated: “We all must come together and act today to solve the issues we are part of.”
The Association of Active Football Referees and Observers of Turkey has called for all referees to refrain from taking the field, adding that “the violent attack on Meler wasn’t only against our referee Halil Umut Meler, but also against the whole refereeing community.” “
The Turkish Super Lig Professional Football Clubs Foundation has condemned the attack, and stated that clubs are “ready to prevent violent incident”.