Turkish club prez given life ban for punching ref

The Turkish Football Federation (TFF) said on Thursday its disciplinary board had imposed a permanent ban on Ankaragucu club president Faruk Koca for punching a referee after a game this week in the country’s top soccer league.

The TFF board also ruled that Ankaragucu, a club in the top-tier Super Lig in Turkey, would pay a two million lira ($69,000) fine and would play five home games without fans as a result of the unrest involving fans and club officials.

Various other Ankaragucu officials received bans, cautions and fines in relation to Monday’s incident.

At the end of their home match against Rizespor, Koca went on to the pitch and punched referee Halil Umut Meler in the face after Rizespor scored a 97th-minute equaliser in the 1-1 draw. Meler was then kicked while lying on the pitch.

Koca was arrested the next day and the soccer federation immediately suspended all matches. It has since decided that games will resume next Tuesday after a one-week suspension.

Meler was released from an Ankara hospital on Wednesday with a swollen and darkened eye but no other health issues.

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