Turkey referee punch: Turkish leagues to resume after referee released from hospital #Turkey #referee #punch #Turkish #leagues #resume #referee #released #hospital

Turkish football will resume on 19 December after all leagues were suspended when a referee was punched during a top-flight match on Monday.

MKE Ankaragucu president Faruk Koca ran on to the pitch and struck match official Halil Umut Meler after his team conceded a 97th-minute equaliser in a 1-1 draw with Caykur Rizespor.

Meler was released from hospital on Wednesday with a swollen eye.

Koca was arrested on Tuesday and has since apologised for his actions.

Turkish football bosses suspended all leagues following the incident and Turkish Football Federation (TFF) chief Mehmet Buyukeksi told reporters on Wednesday: “We had decided to postpone the matches in all leagues indefinitely. With the decision we took today, all leagues will restart on Tuesday, December 19.”

After Koca punched Meler to the ground, he received several blows from others as he lay on the turf, and suffered injuries including a minor fracture.

The incident sparked chaotic scenes involving players and club officials.

Mehmet Yorubulut, chief of medicine at Acibadem Hospital, said Meler has a swollen eye but is in “good condition”.

Justice Minister Yilmaz Tunc said Koca and two others had been arrested after prosecutors took statements and a judicial control decision had been imposed on three other suspects.

Koca later issued a statement via Ankaragucu saying he had resigned as club president and apologising for his actions, saying he felt “great embarrassment” for the “grave incident that I caused”.

Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke to Meler in hospital and said the incident had “saddened and disturbed” him.

The Turkish Football Federation said Ankaragucu, its chairman, club officials and all those guilty of attacking the referee will be “punished in the strongest terms possible”.

Fifa president Gianni Infantino said the incident was “totally unacceptable” and violence had “no place in our sport or society”.

Meler, 37, is one of Turkey’s top referees and officiates international games for Fifa.

He is also on Uefa’s elite referee list and officiated West Ham’s Europa Conference League semi-final first leg against AZ Alkmaar last season and Lazio’s Champions League group game with Celtic last month.

Halil Umut Meler leaving hospital
Match official Meler (centre) was seen leaving hospital with a bruised eye in Ankara, Turkey on Wednesday

#Turkey #referee #punch #Turkish #leagues #resume #referee #released #hospital

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