FIFA President Gianni Infantino strongly condemned the attack on Turkish football referee Halil Umut Meler by Ankaragucu president Faruk Koca, describing the incident as "totally unacceptable." Following the 1-1 draw between Ankaragucu and Caykur Rizespor, Koca punched Meler, prompting the Turkish football federation to suspend all leagues indefinitely.
Infantino emphasized the importance of eliminating violence from football, both on and off the field, stating that such events have no place in the sport or society. He called for the relevant authorities to ensure the safety of referees, players, fans, and staff, emphasizing that without match officials, there is no football.
The incident unfolded as images captured Koca rushing onto the pitch with a group of men, delivering a punch to Meler after the referee had blown the final whistle. The attack led to legal consequences, with Koca and two others placed in pre-trial detention on charges of "injuring and threatening a public official."
The severity of the incident underscores the imperative for measures to guarantee the safety and security of individuals involved in football, emphasizing that such actions should be strictly implemented and respected at all levels of the sport.