More chaotic scenes in Turkey as club president storms onto the pitch

More disgraceful scenes in Turkish top flight as club president storms onto the pitch and orders his players off after they were denied a penalty… with another match abandoned just ONE WEEK after referee was attacked

  • Disgraceful scenes saw a Turkish club president storm the pitch on Tuesday 
  • It comes just a week after a referee was attacked during a Super Lig match 
  • Mikel Arteta booked again, other bosses getting yellows. If you are going to eradicate these ills, KEEP DOING IT, REFS! Listen to It’s All Kicking Off 

Turkish football was at the heart of another refereeing controversy on Tuesday night after a club president stormed the pitch mid-game and ordered his players to walk off.

The incident comes on the first day of the league’s resumption following it’s week-long suspension after former Ankaragucu president, last week, went on to the pitch and punched the referee.

Referee Halil Umut Meler was pictured battered and bruised and wearing a neck brace in hospital last Tuesday but, following a series of additional tests, was discharged on Wednesday morning. 

Following the match official’s release from hospital, it was announced later that day that league football would be suspended until December 19th. 

Despite the recent events, it seems little has changed in the attitudes shown towards referees in the Turkish top-flight, after disgraceful scenes saw Istanbulspor president Faik Sarialioglu storming onto the pitch on the first night of the league’s resumption.

Trabzonspor’s clash with Istanbulspor was abandoned after chaotic scenes on Tuesday night

Istanbulspor president Faik Sarialioglu (middle) stormed onto the pitch mid-game and ordered his players to walk off the field

The disgraceful scenes occurred after Trabzonspor scored a crucial goal, just minutes after Istanbulspor were denied a penalty

Referees, players and coaching staff were left bemused by the president’s rash decision

After abiding by Sarialioglu’s demands, players left the field and the match was abandoned

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During the Super Lig clash between Trabzonspor and Istanbulspor, the visitors scored to go 2-1 up through former Southampton striker Paul Onuachu, just moments after Istanbulspor felt they should have been awarded a penalty.

This prompted Istanbulspor’s president, in the 74th minute, to make his way onto the pitch and tell the team to withdraw from the match.

A number of the Istanbulspor players were left bemused by Sarialioglu’s decision but still abided and, shortly afterwards, the match was officially abandoned.

In a clip, head coach Hakan Yakin can be seen standing on the sidelines in astonishment as his players were ordered to leave the field. 

The chaotic scenes come just a week after media outlets branded last Monday’s events as a ‘night of shame’ for Turkish football. 

On that night, former Ankaragucu president Faruk Koca launched a vicious attack on Halil Umut Meler after his side drew 1-1 against Caykur Rizespor in the Super Lig.

After the ex-club chief punched him in the face at the final whistle, he was also seen being kicked in the head while lying prone on the floor as the chaos unwound around him. 

The official was discharged with a reported swelling and small fracture, as pictures showed him waving to a crowd gathered outside the hospital’s entrance.

Sarialioglu painted an irate figure on the touchline before he stormed on and made the order

The incident comes just a week after Faruk Koca, former president of Ankaragucu, stormed the pitch to punch referee Halil Umut Meler during a Turkish Super Lig match

Following the match official’s release from hospital, Turkish Football Federation President Mehmet Buyukeksi revealed the league would be suspended in a bid to ‘protect’ it’s officials. 

He wrote: ‘The main mission of all of us is to keep football ahead of everything else and to protect it as an area where all stakeholders feel safe. There is no room for violence in this attitude. 

‘What happened in the Ankaragücü – Rizespor match is completely unacceptable. 

‘We remind you that we will have zero tolerance in any such incident on or off the field, and that we will not allow attacks or disproportionate pressure on our referees, who are an important part of the game.’

Fans also invaded the pitch after Rizespor scored an equaliser seven minutes into eight minutes of injury time, prompting police to escort the referee to safety. 

Koca announced his resignation as president of Ankaragucu – a post he had held since 2021 – and admitted he felt ‘great embarrassment’ for his actions and was stepping down to ‘prevent any further harm’ to the club. 

However it had been earlier reported that he claimed he had not been responsible for the fractured eye socket suffered by the official, adding his intent was to spit into the referee’s face. 

‘My aim was to react verbally to the referee and spit in his face,’ Koca said, as reported by CNN Turk.

Turkish referee Halil Umut Meler was pictured with a neck brace as he recovered in hospital 


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‘At this time, I slapped the referee in the face. The slap I gave did not cause a fracture.

‘After the slap I gave, the referee stood for about 5-10 seconds, then threw himself on the ground. 

‘They immediately removed me from the scene because of my heart disease. Other than that, I am not aware of any incident that took place.’ 

Referee Meler has issued a statement after being rushed to hospital saying Koca had threatened his life.

‘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,’ Meler said in a statement. ‘Faruk Koca told me and my fellow referees: ‘I will finish you’.

‘Addressing me in particular, he said: ‘I will kill you’,’ Meler added.

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