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FIFA condemns Turkish referee attack, says officials are important in matches 



The moment the referee was punched. Pic: Anadolu via Getty


FIFA chief Gianni Infantino on Tuesday called the attack on a Turkish football referee by the president of the top-flight club Ankaragucu “totally unacceptable.”

The Turkish football federation suspended all leagues indefinitely after referee Halil Umut Meler was punched by Ankaragucu president Faruk Koca after Monday’s 1-1 draw with Caykur Rizespor.

“There is no place for violence in football, on or off the field,” Infantino said in a statement on social media.

“Events following the Turkish Super Lig match between MKE Ankaragucu and Caykur Rizespor are unacceptable and have no place in our sport or society.”

“Without match officials, there is no football,” Infantino continued.

“Referees, players, fans, and staff have to be safe and secure to enjoy the game, and I call on the relevant authorities to ensure that this is strictly implemented and respected at all levels.”

Images of Monday night’s incident showed Koca rushing onto the pitch with a group of men and throwing a punch at Meler after he had blown the final whistle.

A court has placed Koca and two others in pre-trial detention for “injuring and threatening a public official”.

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