Referees taken hostage by football club, released after Erdoğan’s call
TRABZON – Doğan News Agency
DHA photoTrabzonspor’s officials took four referees hostage for four hours over what they considered an “erroneous decision” during a football match against Gaziantepspor, only to release them after a call from Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
Referee Çağatay Şahan and his assistants were held captive for four hours at Trabzon’s Avni Aker stadium over the performance during a 2-2 draw between the two clubs, while the decision sparked outrage among supporters.
“Let’s not cause a scandal in front of the world and Turkey. But all mistakes will be called to account,” Erdoğan reportedly told controversial Trabzonspor club chair İbrahim Hacıosmanoğlu, who released the referees after the late-night call from the president.
Hacıosmanoğlu had allegedly ordered the capture of the referee and his assistants, saying, “Do not let them leave the stadium until I arrive,” only permitting them to leave after the call from the head of state, for whom Hacıosmanoğlu said he had a “bond of love and respect.”
After the decisions by Şahan and his team, around 500 supporters fiercely protested the Turkey Football Federation (TFF) and its referees.
As the tension grew, Hacıosmanoğlu categorically refused to answer calls from government officers, refusing to break his word.
Şahan and his assistants left the stadium after four hours under a police guard.
“I do not have to pronounce his name; everybody will understand whom I am referring to. Turkey has a leader who serves this nation, a leader who will leave a strong country to my children in the future, even though the world is playing games to make him leave the post. I am ready to die for him,” Hacıosmanoğlu said.
The TFF has opened an investigation into the incident.
The Trabzonspor chair, meanwhile, also incensed women and others after he said: “If we’re going to die, we’ll die like men; we won’t live like women. No one has the power to make us live like women.”
“People like these shouldn’t reproduce, they should be neutered. Sexist ideas should not be passed to the next generation,” said daily Hürriyet columnist Melis Alphan.
“[Hacıosmanoğlu’s] words are sexist, demean, ignore and alienate women and are especially an insult to women supporters,” said the women members of the Trabzonspor supporters’ group Devrimci Trabzonsporlular.