Istanbul: Turkey’s best known player Arda Turan was on Friday sent off while playing for his Istanbul football club Basaksehir after angrily shoving an assistant referee in the closing seconds of a critical top flight match.
Basaksehir, contenders for the league title this season, had been leading 1-0 to Sivaspor but conceded a late equaliser in a major blow to their championship hopes and then hunted a match winning goal.
Seeking to launch an 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. It is unclear what ban he could face, with the incident causing a wave of anger on social media and calls for tough punishment.
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 after joining from Atletico Madrid.
The new incident comes with Turkish football facing one of its biggest crises in recent years after an Istanbul derby between Fenerbahce and Besiktas was abandoned last month due to crowd violence.
Besiktas then boycotted the resumption of the Turkish Cup match Thursday, saying Fenerbahce should have been treated more harshly.