Turkish football supporters were happy to see games in all divisions of the country’s football leagues resume on Tuesday.
This came after a week-long hiatus due to an extraordinary act of violence by a club president against a referee on the field.
After his team gave up an equaliser in the 97th minute last week, Faruk Koca, the president of Ankaragucu, stormed onto the pitch and hit referee Halil Umit Meler in the face.
After that, Koca was arrested the day after the game and the Turkish Football Federation (TFF) banned him for life for kicking the referee while he was lying on the field.
Footage from the pre-match ceremony ahead of the Basaksehir-Sivasspor game on Tuesday showed children wearing jerseys with the word “respect” presenting flowers to the officials.
Though they have rarely been the victim of physical attacks, Turkish referees are frequently attacked for their decisions by club presidents and managers, particularly because they are not happy with the video assistant referee (VAR) system.
The terrible incident has brought Turkish football’s entire culture into the public eye, with the growing concerns about official disrespect and political influence at the centre of the discussion.