Turkish president intervenes after referees taken hostage

The boss of Turkish club Trabzonspor locked four match officials in a stadium overnight for failing to award his team a penalty, only to release them under escort from special forces after a phone call from President Recep Erdoğan.
The enraged club president, Ibrahim Hacıosmanoğlu, ordered Çağatay Şahan and his assistant referees to be detained after Trabzonspor were denied a penalty in the final minutes of the top-flight match against Gaziantepspor, which ended 2-2. Angry supporters gathered outside the stadium and the referees were locked in until the early hours of Thursday, when there was a personal intervention from Erdoğan, for whom Hacıosmanoğlu said he had a “bond of love and respect”. “I told stadium security not to let the referees leave until the morning, until I arrived, but a very important person called me and asked me not to cause embarrassment in Turkey and around the world. He promised the [penalty] incident would be investigated,” Hacıosmanoğlu said in a television interview with Doğan news agency, referring to Erdoğan. Presidency sources were not available for comment. The referees were released at 4 a.m., four hours after being locked in, and escorted to safety by special forces.
The Turkish Football Federation is investigating the incident. “This unlawfulness cannot be justified by any erroneous referee decision and has caused deep discomfort in the whole football world. All efforts will be made to ensure that the related persons be tried not only under sports law but also criminal law”, it said.

Source: The Guardian