Turkish referee attacked by club president leaves hospital

Turkish referee Halil Umut Meler has left hospital after being treated for injuries suffered in an attack at the end of a Super Lig game on Monday.

Meler, who received a small fracture under his eye when hit by MKE Ankaragucu president Faruk Koca after his club’s match against Caykur Rizespor, was pictured leaving the Acibadem hospital in Ankara.

The Turkish Football Federation (TFF), which suspended domestic football in the country indefinitely in the wake of the incident, will hold a board meeting later on Wednesday to discuss the events.

Turkey’s justice minister Yilmaz Tunc said on his X account on Tuesday that Koca had been arrested “for injuring and threatening a public servant due to his public duty”.

Koca later announced his resignation as president via Ankaragucu’s official website.

Meler was visited in hospital on Tuesday by TFF president Mehmet Buyukeksi and interior minister Ali Yerlikaya.

Buyukeksi said in quotes reported on the TFF’s X account: “This sad event should definitely not be forgotten. This should be a milestone.

“We will provide detailed information after tomorrow’s board meeting. In this meeting, we will discuss all the issues clearly. We will give detailed information about the decisions we will make about how the league will continue.

“Let’s underline again – we strongly condemn the incident on behalf of the Turkish Football Federation board of directors and myself. This incident happened, but we cannot accept it being back to its old state in two weeks.”

In October Turkey was awarded joint hosting rights for Euro 2032 alongside Italy.

Buyukeksi said he had already received assurances from UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin that Monday’s incident had not jeopardised that project.

FIFA and UEFA have both condemned the attack on Meler, who was in charge of West Ham’s Europa Conference League semi-final first leg against AZ Alkmaar last season.

Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke to Meler on the telephone.

Koca announced on Tuesday afternoon he had quit in “order to prevent any further harm to the Ankaragucu club, Ankaragucu fans, the community I am in and my family”.

He added: “I hope that this incident, which I, more than anyone else, cannot accept, will be a reason for our sports life, especially our football community, to be purified from mistakes, shortcomings and the culture of violence.

“At the same time, I hope that the structural problems of Turkish football will be discussed more realistically due to this grave incident that I caused.”