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Turkish club president given lifetime ban after referee attack

The disgraced former president of Turkish club Ankaragucu was handed a lifetime ban by Turkey’s football federation on Thursday after punching a referee following a game earlier this week.

The Turkish football federation’s disciplinary board has also ordered Ankaragucu to play five home matches behind closed doors and fined the club 60,000 euros ($66,000).

Club boss Faruk Koca rushed onto the pitch with a group of men following Ankaragucu’s draw with Caykur Rizespor on Monday, throwing a punch at referee Halil Umut Meler after he had blown the final whistle.

Koca, who was touted as a possible candidate for mayor of Ankara, subsequently resigned from his post, while all Turkish league matches were suspended until December 19.

Koca appeared to be incensed at Meler for sending off one of his players and then awarding a stoppage-time goal.

Meler fell to the ground and was kicked several times in the ensuing melee.

“Sports means peace and brotherhood. Sport is incompatible with violence,” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in a social media statement on Monday.

According to Turkish press reports, Koca also resigned from Erdogan’s ruling AKP party.

Koca told one reporter earlier this year that he could consider running for Ankara mayor as the AKP candidate in a closely-watched municipal election scheduled for March 31.

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