Turkish referee Halil Umut Meler has spoken for the first

Turkish referee Halil Umut Meler speaks for the first time since leaving hospital… THREE DAYS after he was viciously punched by team’s president and kicked on the floor after a match

  • The referee was punched and kicked during a Super Lig match on Monday 
  • After three days in hospital he was pictured looking battered and bruised 
  • Have you witnessed abuse of referees? Contact [email protected] 

Turkish football referee Halil Umut Meler has spoken for the first time since leaving hospital after he was punched by a team’s president during a Turkish Super Lig match.

The 37-year-old, who had spent three days in hospital following the incident, confirmed that ‘there was no problem with his health’ before commenting on whether he would continue to officiate. 

Turkish football descended into a night of chaos on Monday during MKE Ankaragucu’s 1-1 draw against Caykur Rizespor in the top flight. 

Ankaragucu’s president Faruk Koca came onto the pitch and in shocking scenes, that have since been condemned by the country’s president, Recep Tayyip, proceded to shout at the referee before punching him on the side of the head. 

The incident was subsequently branded ‘the darkest night’ by news papers in the country, while the referee, who was pictured wearing a neck brace in hospital claimed that it was ‘his fault’.

After leaving hospital on Wednesday, looking battered and bruised, Meler spoke to several journalists, saying, according to Spor Arena: ‘There is no problem with my health.’

Turkish referee Halil Umut Meler has spoken for the first time since leaving hospital 

It came after he was punched in the head while officiating a game in the Turkish Super Lig on Monday

The moment that the fist of Faruk Koca, president of top-flight football club, connects with the face of referee Meler after a Turkish Super Lig match 

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Games around the Turkish Super Lig have been subsequently suspended following the incident, but are set to restart on December 19, with fans taking to the streets to protest the decision made by the country’s Football Federation.

Meler, 37, who has reportedly suffered facial fractures, was also asked whether he would continue to referee, noting that he had been in touch with UEFA. 


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‘They called me from UEFA,’ he told reporters. ‘I will explain these issues later. 

‘There is no situation at the moment, everything is possible. I just want to go home and rest.’ he replied. 

FIFA president Gianni Infantino has slammed the incident claiming it was ‘totally unnacceptable’, while president Koca has spoken out to defend himself claiming that the official had ‘thrown himself to the ground. 

Speaking after discharging Meler, Ankara hospital’s chief physician said of the referee: ‘He is in good spirits. He will have controls wherever he goes [next]. He has no problem except for a small swelling under his eye.

‘We put on a neck brace for precautionary purposes. The [cheek] fracture will heal in time, it was a small fracture anyway. There is no more bleeding.’

After the attack took place, the Turkish Football Federation had held an emergency meeting to discuss the violence, with Mehmet Buykeksi, the organisation’s chief, stating the incident was ‘shameful’.

‘This attack is unfortunate and shameful in the name of football,’ federation chief Mehmet Buyukeksi said after the meeting. 

The referee admitted that he was OK and hugged several members of the crowd around him

Mail Sport has launched a campaign to stop the abuse of referees at all levels of the game

Meler fell to the floor after the punch and was subsequently taken to hospital  

He was released from hospital on Wednesday morning admitting he was unclear if he would continue to referee


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‘We say enough is enough,’ he added.’Everyone who has targeted referees and encouraged them to commit crimes is complicit in this despicable attack,’ he said. 

‘The irresponsible statements of club presidents, managers, coaches and television commentators targeting referees have opened the way for this attack.’

After the incident, referee Meler had reportedly issued a statement, saying: ‘Faruk Koca punched me under my left eye and I fell to the ground. While I was on the ground, they kicked my face and other parts of my body many times,’ 

He added:’Faruk Koca told me and my fellow referees: ‘I will finish you’.

‘Addressing me in particular, he said: “I will kill you.”‘

Koca has also announced his resignation on the club’s website, despite previously admitting he ‘only meant to spit at the referee’. 

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