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Referee punched: Turkish FA halts league football after club president hits Super Lig official

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MKE Ankaragucu president Faruk Koca throws a punch at referee Halil Umut Meler after the Turkish Super Lig game with Caykur Rizespor (pic BBC)

Turkish football bosses suspended all leagues after a referee was punched to the ground by a club president following a top-flight game on Monday.

Halil Umut Meler was struck by MKE Ankaragucu president Faruk Koca, who ran on to the pitch after his team conceded a 97th-minute equaliser in a 1-1 Super Lig draw with Caykur Rizespor.

“The matches in all leagues have been postponed indefinitely,” Turkish FA [TFF] chairman Mehmet Buyukeksi told a news conference.  “This attack is a night of shame for Turkish football,” he added.

Fifa president Gianni Infantino called the incident “totally unacceptable” and said that violence has “no place in our sport or society”. “Without match officials there is no football,” he said. “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.”

Meler 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.

Koca required treatment in hospital but “detention procedures will be carried out after the treatment”, said Turkey’s minister of internal affairs, Ali Yerlikaya.

Yerlikaya added others had been arrested for their part in the incident, which he “strongly condemned”.

Meler, 37, is one of Turkey’s top referees and officiates international games for Fifa. He is also on Uefa’s elite referee list.

He also required hospital treatment and the chief physician of the hospital where he was treated, Dr Mehmet Yorubulut, said: “There is no life threat for the moment. He only has bleeding around his left eye and a small fracture.

“We will monitor our referee until the morning due to head trauma. We will discharge him from hospital after the necessary examinations in the morning.”

Referee Halil Umut Meler falls to the ground after Faruk Koca, president of MKE Ankaragucu throws a punch
Referee Halil Umut Meler also received several kicks after being knocked to the ground (pic BBC)
Referee Halil Umut Meler's face swells after Faruk Koca, President of MKE Ankaragucu throws a punch to him following the Turkish Super Lig week 15 football match between MKE Ankaragucu and Rizespor at Eryaman Stadium in Ankara
Referee Halil Umut Meler was being kept in hospital overnight (pic BBC)

The country’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, spoke out after the shocking scenes. “I condemn the attack on referee Halil Umut Meler after the MKE Ankaragucu-Çaykur Rizespor match played this evening, and I wish him a speedy recovery,” he said.

“Sports means peace and brotherhood. Sport is incompatible with violence. We will never allow violence to take place in Turkish sports.”

Home club MKE Ankaragucu expressed regret following their president’s actions, saying in a statement: “We are saddened by the incident that took place this evening.

“We apologise to the Turkish football public and the entire sports community for the sad incident that occurred after the Caykur Rizespor match at Eryaman Stadium.”

Caykur Rizespor sent a message of support to Meler and expressed general dismay, stating: “We strongly condemn the undesirable events that occurred after the Ankaragucu match we played today.

“We convey our wishes to the entire referee community, especially the referee of the match, Halil Umut Meler, to get well soon.”

The TFF chose to take a decisive course of action that it hopes will lead Turkish football to become a safer place.

TFF chairman Buyukeksi added: “Football matches are not a war, there is no death at the end. Not all teams can become champions at the same time. We all need to understand this. We invite everyone to take responsibility.

“Ankaragucu and its managers will be punished most severely.”

He said the penalties will be discussed in the relevant decision-making committees starting on Tuesday.

In a statement on what it called the “inhumane and despicable attack”, the TFF said: “The irresponsible statements of club presidents, managers, coaches and TV commentators targeting referees have paved the way for this vile attack today.

“In coordination with our State, all the criminal proceedings they deserve have begun to be implemented against those responsible and instigators of this inhumane attack. The responsible club, its president, its managers and all criminals who attacked Meler will be punished in the most severe way.”

Galatasaray, one of the country’s biggest teams, had earlier called for an emergency meeting to allow clubs to address what they say is a growing issue in the Turkish game.

“We must all come together today and act to solve the problems we are a part of,” read a Galatasaray statement.

The Association of Active Football Referees and Observers of Turkey called on all referees not to take the fields, adding: “The violent attack on Meler was not only against our referee Halil Umut Meler but also against the entire referee community.”

The Turkish Super Lig Professional Football Clubs Foundation condemned the attack and said clubs were “ready to take all steps to prevent violent incidents”.

(BBC)



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President orders probe into notification issued by Department of Immigration and Emigration

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It has been reported that President Wickremesinghe ordered an investigation into the notification issued by the Department of Immigration and Emigration requesting all  Russian and Ukrainian tourists to leave the country within 14 days.

According to the President’s Media Division (PMD), the relevant notification was issued without prior approval from the Cabinet of Ministers.

The decision had reportedly been taken as certain foreign tourists are running illegal businesses in the country.

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United Republic Front presents ‘A united step for the country’ to the President

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Leader of the United Republic Front Member of Parliament Patali Champika Ranawaka, presented the proposal titled “A United Step for the Country” to President Ranil Wickremesinghe , at ‘Srikota’, the United National Party headquarters in Colombo this morning (24).

Speaking at the event President Ranil Wickremesinghe, highlighted the government’s concerted efforts over the past two years to stabilize the country’s economy, which had faced significant challenges. Stressing the government’s commitment to steering the economy towards recovery through strategic reforms, the President expressed his determination to continue these initiatives with the collective support of everyone.

Recalling his open invitation to all political parties to unite under a common agenda for the country, regardless of political differences, the President reiterated his willingness to embrace constructive proposals from all political parties as part of the nation-building efforts.

The President responded positively to the request made by Member of Parliament Patali Champika Ranawaka to allow other political parties to participate in the upcoming negotiations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) next month concerning the restructuring of foreign debt.

President Ranil Wickremesinghe, responding queries about the scheduling of elections, affirmed that the Presidential Election will proceed as scheduled, with the General Election anticipated to take place early next year.

 

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Spinners put England in command on Day 2

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Shoaib Bashir bagged four wickets on Day 2 (Cricbuzz)

England’s spin duo of Shoaib Bashir and Tom Hartley put India in trouble on the second day of the fourth Test in Ranchi by sharing six wickets between them. After getting bowled out for 353 in their first innings, England kept striking at regular intervals despite Yashasvi Jaiswal’s efforts at the other end.

England made a positive start to the day with Ollie Robinson opening up to hit a flurry of boundaries to catch India off guard. He ended up stretching the stand over 100 runs alongside overnight centurion Joe Root with the latter taking a backseat on the second morning. In the process, Robinson ended up registering his first-ever fifty in Test cricket with India desperately searching for a breakthrough. That breakthrough arrived in the form of Ravindra Jadeja as Robinson gloved one to the ‘keeper while attempting to reverse sweep.

Jadeja then made quick work of the tail as Bashir first miscued one hoick and James Anderson got trapped lbw, leaving Root stranded on 122. England would have still been fairly pleased with the score of 353 though given they were reeling at 112/5 at one stage on the opening day. They received a massive boost with the ball too as Rohit Sharma ended up nicking Anderson behind very early in his innings.

Jaiswal on the other hand though got off to a bright start yet again. Having already smashed two double tons in the series, the opener was in great touch prior to the lunch break. He carried on the same vein post resumption as well but ended up watching a procession from the non-striker’s end. Bashir hurt India big time in the second session as he first trapped the well-set Shubman Gill lbw before getting rid of Rajat Patidar and Jadeja, who had smashed successive sixes prior to that.

Those three wickets put India on the backfoot and the onus was on Jaiswal again to revive the innings. The opener did  continue to pile on the runs but England managed to keep Sarfaraz Khan quiet at the other end. The visitors then took full control of the game when Jaiswal dragged one back on to his stumps to fall for 73. With half the side back in the pavilion and almost 200 runs still behind England’s tally, India needed a massive contribution from the lower order. However, England cashed in on their advantage as Hartley drew the outside edge of Sarfaraz before trapping R Ashwin leg-before-wicket. Kuldeep Yadav and Dhruv Jurel put up a brave fight batting out almost 18 overs before stumps but India still need a huge effort from the duo on the third morning to bridge the gap.

Brief scores:
India
219/7 (Yashasvi Jaiswal 73, Shubman Gill 38; Shoaib Bashir 4/84) trail  England 353 in 104.5 overs (Joe Root 122*; Ravindra Jadeja 4/67) by 134 runs

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