Besiktas Defender Might Face Jail Term over Referee Rant

Turkish international defender Caner Erkin, who plays for the Istanbul side Besiktas, risks up to two years in jail over an expletive-strewn rant at a referee last year, reports said Tuesday.

Istanbul prosecutors have charged Erkin with bad mouthing and hurling terrible insultsat an official responsible for public order and asked for between one to two years in jail for the player, the official Anadolu news agency reported.

The incident took place in a match on October 23 between Besiktas and title rivals Basaksehir of Istanbul when referee Mete Kalkavan showed Erkin a yellow card. The player has denied the charges.

Erkin, 29, renowned as a hardman, moved towards Kalkavan gesticulating and shouting vulgar insults at him.

The incident sparked renewed controversy over Erkin, seen as highly talented since his youth and who has had stints at CSKA Moscow and Inter Milan.

There has been growing exasperation over the antics of Erkin, with calls mounting on the Turkish Football Federation (TFF) to crack down on the player.

But it’s extremely unusual for a legal case to be opened against a player for his behaviour on the pitch.

Anadolu said that hearings would begin in the next days.

The case is the latest bad news for Besiktas, currently second in the league, after its Portuguese winger Ricardo Quaresma was banned for five matches by the TFF for violent conduct in a Turkish Cup match against Fenerbahce on March 1.

The club’s hardcore fans, who are famously anti-establishment, claim it is the victim of a targeted campaign after winning the league two seasons in a row.