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Turkish FA fires 94 referees, other officials after coup

Turkish football supporters rally in support of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Istanbul on July 23, 2016 © AFP/File / Ozan Kose

Istanbul, Turkey, Aug 2 – Turkey’s football authorities have fired 94 officials including referees in the wake of the July 15 coup that tried to unseat President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the football federation said on Tuesday.

“Our federation deemed it necessary to dismiss 94 people, including regional and nationally-ranked referees and assistant referees, regional refereeing committee members and national and regional observers,” the Turkish Football Federation (TFF) said in a statement.

The statement gave no further details but the Hurriyet daily said one of the referees affected was an official on duty in the Super Lig top flight, without giving a name.

The backlash after the July 15 coup blamed on followers of the US-based preacher Fethullah Gulen has affected every walk of life in Turkey and football is no exception.

All members of affiliated committees of the TFF resigned at the weekend to allow a “security inspection” to see if any have links to the Gulen movement.

The star striker for Istanbul side Besiktas, Mario Gomez of Germany who was the top scorer in the Super Lig last year, announced he was leaving the club due to the political situation.

Footage broadcast by Turkish television also showed a helicopter hijacked by the coup plotters landing in the middle of the Besiktas stadium’s pitch on the night of the coup.

However TFF chief Yildirim Demiroren has said all the Super Lig, international matches and all other fixtures will be played as scheduled despite the coup.

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