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Club president gives referee a knock down punch

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Super Lig - MKE Ankaragucu v Caykur Rizespor - Eryaman Stadium - Ankara, Turkey - December 11, 2023 MKE Ankaragucu President Faruk Koca reacts as the referee Halil Umut Meler lies on the ground at the end of their Super Lig home match against Caykur Rizespor REUTERS/Abdurrahman Antakyali/Depo Photo/File Photo Acquire Licensing Rights

The Turkish Football Federation (TFF) has suspended all leagues on a night of “shame” for the nation’s soccer after Ankaragucu’s president Faruk Koca punched the referee in the face at the end of their Super Lig home match against Rizespor.

Koca entered the field and hit referee Halil Umut Meler when the final whistle blew after Rizespor scored a 97th minute equaliser in the 1-1 draw at Eryaman Stadium on Monday, footage from state broadcaster TRT showed.

Ankaragucu fans invaded the pitch after the game and Meler was also kicked when he fell, though it was unclear who his assailants were. Meler eventually made it to the dressing room with the help of the police.

“The Turkish Football Federation has decided to suspend all games in all leagues indefinitely,” the federation posted on X, formerly known as Twitter.

“The related club, the club chairman, club officials and all those guilty of attacking referee Umut Meler will be punished in the strongest terms possible.”

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A detention order has been issued for Koca, Interior Minister Ali Yerlikaya said in a post on X, adding that two people have already been detained as part of a judicial investigation into the incident.

“Turkish football has been punched shamefully tonight. Everyone involved in this incident will pay the price,” TFF Chairman Mehmet Buyukeksi said, according to TRT.

A FIFA referee since 2017, 37-year-old Meler took charge of Lazio’s Champions League group game with Celtic on Nov. 28.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan tweeted: “Sport means peace and brotherhood. Sport is incompatible with violence. We will never allow violence to take place in Turkish sports.”

Referees in Turkey are often criticised by club managers and presidents for their decisions but are rarely the target of violent attacks.

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Ankaragucu are 11th in the standings on 18 points, three places below Rizespor on 22 points after 15 matches

-Reuters

 

 

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Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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Ahly awarded 2-0 derby win; Zamalek handed 3-point deduction

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Cairo giants Ahly were granted a 2-0 victory over arch-rivals Zamalek after the latter refused to participate in the Cairo derby on Tuesday, according to an Egyptian Pro League (EPL) announcement.

In addition, Zamalek were hit with a three-point deduction and a fine as a penalty.

The Red Devils were scheduled to host Zamalek on Tuesday as part of the 27th matchday of the Egyptian Premier League.

However, following their 2-1 home defeat to Masry last week, Zamalek filed a complaint with the Egyptian Football Association (EFA) citing refereeing injustices.

Zamalek outlined four demands that needed to be met to continue the Egyptian Premier League.

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One of the demands was to postpone all remaining league matches until all competing teams complete their first-leg fixtures, pointing out that Ahly had played only 18 games so far, two fewer than Zamalek.

The White Knights also insisted on appointing an independent committee outside the EFA and the EPL to oversee and reschedule the remaining league matches, ensuring complete impartiality.

They set last week’s Pharco game as the deadline to receive a comprehensive schedule of all remaining matches until the season ends, along with fulfilling their previous demands.

As the EFA and the EPL did not meet Zamalek’s demands, the club publicly announced their decision not to participate in the Cairo derby on Tuesday, which led to the EFA awarding Ahly the victory.

This incident marks the second time in five seasons that Zamalek has forfeited a Cairo derby, following a similar incident in the 2019/20 season.

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The awarded win of Tuesday’s game granted Ahly the three points, maintaining their second-place position with 45 points, trailing leaders Pyramids FC by 17 points.

However, Ahly still hold a significant advantage with six games in hand.

On the other hand, Zamalek dropped down to the 10th position in the league table with 34 points.

-Ahram

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Zamalek threaten boycott of Egyptian League matches

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Zamalek have issued a warning, stating that they may not participate in the remaining Egyptian Premier League games.

Their decision comes in light of their 2-1 defeat against Masry on Monday and their dissatisfaction with the refereeing decisions made during the match.

In an official statement released after the game, the Cairo giants expressed their disappointment with the lack of equal opportunity in the league and raised concerns about the specific refereeing decisions that impacted their loss to Masry.

During the match, Zamalek experienced frustration when winger Ahmed ‘Zizo’ Sayed missed a penalty kick in the 73rd minute.

Despite their appeals, a VAR review confirmed that the ball did not cross the goal-line, further adding to Zamalek’s grievances.

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Zamalek’s statement called upon the Egyptian Football Association (EFA) to investigate the referee’s performance and demanded to be informed of the results of the investigation.

They also declared their refusal to continue participating in the Egyptian League until their opponents have played their postponed games from the first round, emphasizing the importance of fairness and equal treatment for all teams.

Zamalek further insisted on the appointment of a neutral committee, separate from the EFA and the Egyptian Premier League (EPL), to oversee the reorganization of the remaining league matches.

The statement also mentioned that Zamalek’s upcoming fixture against Pharco FC on Friday will be their final game until they receive a comprehensive schedule for the remaining matches in the tournament.

Zamalek find themselves in the 11th position in the league standings with 31 points from 19 games, still having four games in hand.

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-Ahram

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Exciting photo-finish in some of Africa’s top leagues

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The curtains have officially closed across most African domestic championships, with a few gradually approaching the business end of their football calendars.

With a place in next season’s CAF Inter-club competitions on the cards for the best finishers and national cup winners, CAFOnline takes a look at some of Africa’s top leagues, with some having concluded and a few nearing the finish line in what will be a photo-finish to their respective seasons.  

Algeria – Ligue 1

MC Alger are the new champions of Algerian football after dethroning former champions, CR Belouizdad.

Alger clinched their 8th title in what was one of their best performances in the championship. The newly crowned champions finished 12 points ahead of Belouizdad with an impressive 65 points that sees them secure a place in next season’s TotalEnergies CAF Champions League.

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Ghana – Ghana Premier League

History was made in the Ghana Premier League this season after Samartex, who were in their second season in top-flight football were crowned champions of Ghana.

The club sent shockwaves across Ghana with an impressive 61-point finish that saw them clinch the first ever title with an impressive 10-point gap between them and Accra Lions.

Medeama, who won the title last season finished a disappointing 8th place with 49 points.

Morocco – Botola Pro

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It was an exciting photo-finish to the Botola Pro in Morocco which was decided on the very last day of the season.

Raja Casablanca dethroned AS Far as Moroccan champions after clinching the title in style with a commanding 3-0 win over MCO Oujda on the very last day of the championship.

The two-horse race between Raja and FAR Rabat who were edged by the champions by a mere point, despite their 2-0 win over FUS Rabat.

Tanzania – Tanzania Premier League

Young Africans will be back in the TotalEnergies CAF Champions League next season after their successful title defence of the Tanzanian Premier League title.

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Yanga, as the Tanzanian giants are affectionately known cruised to a record-extending 31st league title, finishing with a healthy 11-point gap over second placed Azam FC who finished the season on 69 points alongside Simba SC.

South Africa – Premier Soccer League

Mamelodi Sundowns rubber-stamped their authority as the most successful club in South Africa’s Premier Soccer League after clinching an impressive seventh successive league title, making them the most successful club in the league with 17 league titles in total.

Sundowns’ rivals and former African champions, Orlando Pirates will make a return to the TotalEnergies CAF Champions League after finishing second behind Sundowns.

Meanwhile, the race for the title continues in Tunisia and Egypt with Esperance leading the pack in Tunisia’s Ligue 1, while Pyramids occupy the driver’s seat in the Egyptian Premier League

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-CAF

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