The International Association of Football Federation (FIFA) president, Gianni Infantino, talked about abuse and violence against referees at the 2023 FIFA Football Summit in Saudi Arabia.
"Without referees, there's no football," said Infantino, "We all have to fight for the referees against any sort of abuse and violence against referees, but also to bring back respect and tolerance. And this starts with us. This starts with you."
Infantino also stressed the unifying feature of football and said, "You know where we are heading, you know what we want to do, but also, of course, to achieve these objectives, to achieve these results, we need the support of every one of you because our objectives, our goals are obviously to make football truly global and to involve and include the entire world."
Pierluigi Collina, the Chairman of the FIFA Referees Committee, also backed referees and warned the authorities by saying, "Do something before it's too late. Enough is enough!"
Several legendary players, including Alessandro Del Piero, Kaka, and Gilberto Silva, also made statements about online abuse suffered by players, saying, "All of us here can do our part to stop this online abuse. All together, we can do a lot of things."
The former head of the Ankaragucu football club, Faruk Koca, 59, was remanded into custody for punching Halil Umut Meler in the face after a Super Lig match against Caykur Rizespor that ended in a 1-1 draw on Dec. 11.