Raul Meireles handed eleven match ban
Portuguese midfielder Raul Meireles has been been handed an eleven match ban for spitting on the referee in a league match against arch-rivals Galatasaray. The incident occurred after referee Halis Ozkahya awarded him a second yellow in the second half during his team’s 2-1 loss. Meireles has been said to have spat at the referee and make a homophobic gesture at him. If the ban stays, Meireles could be out until late February.
On his part, He added, ‘I’m really annoyed at being accused of spitting at the referee. I have an eight year old kid, can you imagine if kids at school start saying your father spat at a ref, this could ruin my reputation in the eyes of my child.
‘I have many gay friends who I deeply respects. The hand gesture I made is directed at the referee caving in to the pressure of the home fans.
‘I don’t know what the hand gesture for calling somebody gay is in Turkey but what I did was entirely based around the referee being a coward and bowing to the pressure.
‘The referee’s accusations are outrageous and are defamation, I will be taking legal action against him to prove my innocence.’Published 21 Dec 2012, 15:28 IST