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Former Turkish club president released on bail after punching referee at top league game

Faruk Koca punches referee Faruk Koca punches referee - Getty Images

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Faruk Koca, the former president of a Turkish top division soccer team who was jailed for punching a referee, has been released on bail, the country's state-run news agency reported on Wednesday.

Koca, who resigned as president of MKE Ankaragucu after punching referee Halil Umut Meler, will still be required to report regularly to authorities, the Anadolu Agency said.

Meler was attacked on Dec. 11 after the final whistle of 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 hospitalized with a minor fracture close to his eye.

Koca is scheduled to stand trial on Jan. 9 on charges of injuring a public official, threatening an official and violating a law relating to the prevention of violence in sports. Two other people have also been charged for kicking the referee.

The Turkish Football Federation suspended all league games for a week in response to the incident and imposed a permanent ban on Koca.

Ankaragucu was fined 2 million lira ($69,000) and must play five home games without fans.


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