Turkish football authorities on Thursday banned the country’s best known player Arda Turan, on loan at Super Lig contenders Basaksehir from Barcelona, for 16 games after he attacked a referee in the last minutes of a game.
Turan was banned for 10 matches for attacking the assistant referee, three matches for insulting him and another three matches for threatening him.
“In total he is suspended for 16 matches,” the Turkish Football Federation (TFF) said in a statement following a meeting of its disciplinary committee.
He was also fined 39 000 lira ($9 200).
Turkish media said the punishment was a record. Basaksehir, contenders for the league title this season, had been leading 1-0 to Sivaspor in the May 4 game but conceded a late equaliser in a major blow to their championship hopes.
Seeking to launch a final attack down the wing, Turan felt the assistant referee’s decision had gone against him and marched up to the official, remonstrating in his face and then shoving him firmly back with both hands.
Turan was then given an instant red cad by the match referee and could be seen continuing to rant as he marched off the pitch. The combative midfielder makes no secret of his admiration for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who attended his wedding.
Turan joined Basaksehir this season on loan from Barcelona, where he had largely endured an unhappy spell on the bench after joining from Atletico Madrid.
The new incident came with Turkish football facing one of its biggest crises in recent years after an Istanbul derby Turkish Cup semi-final between Fenerbahce and Besiktas was abandoned last month due to crowd violence.
Fenerbahce will face Akhisar later on Thursday in the final after being given a walkover when Besiktas refused to turn up to the resumption of the abandoned game.