Turkish Top-Flight Match Halted as Istanbulspor President Withdraws Team in Refereeing Protest

A Turkish Super Lig encounter faced an unexpected disruption as Istanbulspor’s president took a bold stand against a refereeing decision, leading to the suspension of the game against Trabzonspor. The incident occurred on the day Turkish football resumed after a week-long suspension prompted by a referee assault.

Trabzonspor held a 2-1 lead, courtesy of Paul Onuachu’s 68th-minute header when Istanbulspor contested a denied penalty claim preceding their opponents’ second goal. In a dramatic move, President Ecmel Faik Sarıalioglu descended to the pitch and withdrew his team in protest during the 73rd minute.

Efforts by some Istanbulspor players to persuade the president proved futile, with Ivory Coast defender Simon Deli captured kneeling in front of him. Trabzonspor’s coach, Abdullah Avci, expressed his disappointment, stating, “It is a sad day for football… We will wait for the football federation’s decision from now on.”

Trabzonspor officially communicated on social media that the match was halted in the 73rd minute due to the opposing team’s players withdrawing from the field. Istanbulspor, currently at the bottom of the Super Lig, faces an uncertain fate pending the Turkish Football Federation’s decision.

The disruption follows a tumultuous week for Turkish football, marked by the arrest of Ankaragucu president Faruk Koca for physically assaulting referee Halil Umut Meler after a 1-1 draw. The incident led to a country-wide league suspension for a week, with Koca receiving a permanent ban from the Turkish Football Federation. As football activities resumed, the unexpected protest by Istanbulspor has once again thrust Turkish football into the spotlight.