Apart from Cristiano Ronaldo achieving his 50-goal mark in 2023 and Lionel Messi’s Inter Miami CF confirming that they will play against Al-Nassr early next year, the suspension of all Turkish football leagues also stole the headlines and shocked fans and pundits in the world of football. The indefinite halt is caused by an assault on a match referee by a club president during a Turkish Süper Lig Matchday 15 fixture between MKE Ankaragücü and Çaykur Rizespor at Eryaman Stadium, resulting in a bruised eye for one of the top match officials in the Turkish top-flight football.
Turkish Football Leagues Suspended Due to Faruk Koca’s Assault
37-year-old Halil Umut Meler was the culprit of the incident, when he was tasked to officiate the match between MKE Ankaragücü and Çaykur Rizespor at the former’s home.
The tension of the game flared when a player from each team has been sent off, Ali Sowe and Emirhan Topçu in the 50th and 90+5th minutes due to two yellow cards respectively, and elevated to new heights when substitute Adolfo Gaich scored a late late equaliser in the 90+7th minute to deny Olimpiu Moruţan’s opener and potential winner for the home team in the 14th minute. The 1-1 draw forced MKE Ankaragücü to stay in the bottom half of the Turkish Süper Lig as a result. (Click here to see how well Galatasaray S.K. played against Manchester United in the Champions League.)
It is understand that Faruk Koca, the MKE Ankaragücü president, was not satisfied with how the game have turned out at the end, and approached Meler momentarily after the final whistle of the game. Koca then punched Meler on his left eye area, before players and officials jumped in to intervene. The 37-year-old Meler was seen aching and left the pitch with a black eye as a result, prompting the Turkish Football Federation (TFF) to quickly announce their decision to suspend all Turkish football leagues after the insane incident.
Turkish President: “I Condemn the Attack on Referee Halil Umut Meler.”
The TFF had this to say in their statement regarding the assault and the immediate suspension of all Turkish football leagues. “The irresponsible statements of club presidents, managers, coaches and TV commentators targeting referees have paved the way for this vile attack today. In coordination with our State, all the criminal proceedings they deserve have begun to be implemented against those responsible and instigators of this inhumane attack. The responsible club, its president, its managers and all criminals who attacked Meler will be punished in the most severe way. By the decision of the TFF Board of Directors, matches in all leagues have been postponed indefinitely.”
In light of the issue and the postpone of all Turkish football leagues, 69-year-old Türkiye president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan made his feelings known on Koca’s irrational move over match referee Meler, saying that “Sports” should be intended to bring “Peace” and strengthen “Brotherhood”. “I condemn the attack on referee Halil Umut Meler after the MKE Ankaragücü-Çaykur 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.”
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A Penny for Your Thoughts on the Turkish Football League Suspension?
We at OtherLeague.com would love know about your thoughts about the current state of the Turkish football league following their indefinite suspension of late and what penalisation should the MKE Ankaragücü president Faruk Koca be given for his reckless action to punch the match referee? Feel free to comment your reply down in the section below now!