Ex-club boss regrets attacking ref in Turkey, denies kill threat

Referee Halil Umut Meler holds his face after being hit by Ankaragucu's president Faruk Koca.

Referee Halil Umut Meler holds his face after being hit by Ankaragucu's president Faruk Koca. Photo: Anadolu via Getty

The former president of a top-division soccer team in Turkey has told a court he regretted attacking a referee at the end of a game but denied threatening to kill him.

Faruk Koca, who resigned as president of MKE Ankaragucu after punching referee Halil Umut Meler, has been charged with causing wilful injury to a public official, threatening an official and violating a law relating to the prevention of violence in sports.

He faces up to 13 years in prison if found guilty.

Koca attacked Meler on December 11 after a 1-1 draw between Ankaragucu and Caykur Rizespor.

The referee, who was also kicked by two other people while lying on the ground, was hospitalised with a minor fracture close to his eye.

Meler has also accused Koca of threatening to kill him during the attack.

Koca was arrested, but has since been released on bail.

He appeared in court on Tuesday with three other defendants who were also charged.

“The part about the threat is not true,” the state-run Anadolu Agency quoted Koca as telling the court during the opening hearing.

“It was the first time in my life that I engaged in a physical intervention against anyone. I am sorry.

“I have already expressed my regrets to the public. I present my regrets once again in court.”

The trial was adjourned until February 28.

The attack against Meler caused a public furore and prompted the Turkish Football Federation to suspend all league games for a week.

Koca was given a permanent ban from soccer, while Ankaragucu was fined two million lira (about $100,000) and has been forced to play five home games without fans.


Stay informed, daily
A FREE subscription to The New Daily arrives every morning and evening.
The New Daily is a trusted source of national news and information and is provided free for all Australians. Read our editorial charter
Copyright © 2024 The New Daily.
All rights reserved.