Referee says he will never forgive Turkish club president for attack

Halil Umut Meler
Turkish referee Halil Umut Meler leaves a hospital in Ankara on December 13. File photo: Reuters/Cagla Gurdogan

Referee Halil Umut Meler said he will not forgive Turkish club Ankaragucu's president Faruk Koca for punching him in the face at the end of a Super Lig match last week.

The Turkish Football Federation's (TFF) disciplinary board imposed a permanent ban on Koca, who entered the field and hit Meler when the final whistle blew after Rizespor scored a 97th-minute equaliser at Ankaragucu's Eryaman Stadium.

Meler was then kicked in the head as he lay on the pitch.

Koca was arrested a day after the incident, with Meler telling police that the official had threatened to kill him.

Faruk Koca
MKE Ankaragucu president Faruk Koca reacts as he leaves the field after the match against Caykur Rizespor. File photo: Reuters/Abdurrahman Antakyali/Depo Photo

"No, I did not forgive (Koca), I will not forgive," Meler told Turkish news daily Hurriyet.

"The person who did this punched me, I collapsed and fell to the ground. But the actual kicking while I was on the ground will be something I will never forget for the rest of my life.

"That's why, in conscience, I will never forgive. I will not forgive in any way, I will never forgive those who did it or those who provoked it."

Turkey's top soccer league resumed play on Tuesday following a one-week suspension.

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