Former Turkish soccer team president gets permanent ban for punching referee

Ankaragucu former president Faruk Koca reacts as the referee Halil Umut Meler lies on the ground at the end of their Super Lig home match against Caykur Rizespor
| Photo Credit: Reuters

The former president of a Turkish soccer team who punched a referee on the field moments after a game has been permanently banned by the Turkish Football Federation.

The federation late on Thursday said that it banned Faruk Koca, who has resigned as president of MKE Ankaragucu, for punching referee Halil Umut Meler on Monday night.

Meler, who was discharged from the hospital on Wednesday with a small fracture near his eye, was attacked shortly after the final whistle of a 1-1 draw between Ankaragucu and Caykur Rizespor in Turkey’s top league.

Koca was arrested for causing injury to a public official, and two other people face charges for kicking the referee.

The federation had initially suspended all league games in response to the incident before announcing that matches will resume next Tuesday in Turkey, which has been selected to co-host the 2032 European Championship with Italy.

Koca’s resignation was announced on Ankaragucu’s website.

The federation also said Ankaragucu has been fined 2 million lira ($69,000) and will have to play five home games without fans.

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