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World News

Turkish referee Halil Umut Meler says he will ‘not forgive’ MKE Ankaragucu president Faruk Koca who punched him to the ground | World News

today21/12/2023

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The Turkish referee who was punched to the ground by the president of MKE Ankaragucu at the end of a match has said he will “not forgive” his attacker.

Halil Umut Meler was struck in the face by Faruk Koca at the final whistle of MKE Ankaragucu’s match against Rizespor on 11 December.

Meler, 37, was kicked in the head at least once while he was on the ground after the attack. He was later treated in hospital for a slight fracture near his eye but was not in a serious condition.

During the Super Lig game he had sent off one player from each side before an equaliser for Rizespor in the seventh minute of injury time led the game to end in a 1-1 draw.

Following the attack on Meler, professional football was suspended for a week in Turkey and Koca was arrested.

Faruk Koca (left) reacts as Halil Umut Meler lies on the ground
Image:
Faruk Koca (left) reacts as Halil Umut Meler lies on the ground

Speaking about the incident for the first time, Meler told the Turkish news website Hurriyet: “No I did not forgive (Koca), I will not forgive.”

He continued: “I collapsed and fell to the ground. But the actual kicking while I was on the ground will be something I will never forget for the rest of my life. That’s why, in conscience, I will never forgive. I will not forgive in any way, I will never forgive those who did it or those who provoked it.

“I am saying this specifically, I will not forgive those who provoked it or those who did it.”

Asked whether he has watched the footage back of the attack, Meler said: “No, I have never watched it. I don’t plan to watch it either. I have a son who is in first grade. The whole school is talking about this.”

He added that when when his son asked him what happened he replied that “there was a collision”.

Read more:
Turkish side Istanbulspor leaves pitch after not being awarded a penalty

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President Erdogan calls injured referee

Turkey’s justice minister Yilmaz Tunc has previously said Koca and two others were arrested for “injuring a public official”.

Koca also received a permanent ban from the Turkish Football Federation (TFF), while MKE Ankaragucu were fined two million lira (£54,000) and ordered to play five home games without any fans.

Koca later issued a statement via Ankaragucu saying he was “embarrassed” and “saddened” by his behaviour and had resigned as club president.



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Written by: lwrradio

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