Ankaragucu’s former ref beating president tells court he did not threaten to kill him

January 10 – The former president of Turkish top flight club Ankaragucu, Faruk Koca, told a court on Tuesday that he regretted attacking the referee at the end of a league game but denied threatening to kill him.

Koca resigned from his role following the sickening attack on referee Halil Umut Meler after the 1-1 draw with Rizespor earlier this month.

Koca was charged with causing wilful injury to a public official, threatening an official and violating a law relating to the prevention of violence in sports.

Koca, who faces up to 13 years in prison if found guilty, was released on bail and appeared in court with three other defendants who were also charged.

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 and accused Koca of threatening to kill him.

“The part about the threat is not true,” Turkey’s 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 attack against Meler caused a public outcry and prompted the Turkish Football Federation to suspend all league games for a week.

Koca was handed a permanent ban from football while Ankaragucu were fined 2 million lira ($69,000) and forced to play five home games behind closed doors.

Th trial was adjourned until February 28.

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