Raul Meireles Given 11-Game Ban For Spitting (And Making ‘Homosexual’ Gesture) At Referee, Doesn’t Take It Well

Chris Wright

21st, December 2012


By Chris Wright

Fenerbahce midfielder Raul Meireles has been banned for 11 games by the Turkish Football Federation after being found guilty of spitting at the referee during his club’s derby game against Galatasaray at the weekend – a game in which Meireles was also sent-off for picking up two yellow cards.

The referee in question, one Halis Ozkahya, not only accused Meireles of aiming globules of stringy gob at him but of also ‘directing a homosexual gesture in his direction’, claims which Meireles is not happy about, telling the Turkish media:

“I’m really annoyed at being accused of spitting at the referee. I have an eight-year-old child, can you imagine if kids at school start saying your father spat at a referee? This could ruin my reputation in the eyes of my child.

“I have many gay friends who I deeply respect. The hand gesture I made is directed at the referee caving in to the pressure of the home fans. That hand gesture was to tell him he was scared. Look at my hairstyle, what I wear, I’m not a prejudicial person, my hand gesture was in no way, shape or form a homophobic one.

“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 defamatory. I will be taking legal action against him to prove my innocence.”

Regardless of the former Liverpool and Chelsea man’s ire, the Turkish Football Federation have upheld Ozkahya’s claims and doled out a whopping great 11-match ban, with Fenerbahce using an official club statement to announce that they planned to appeal what they called an “unfair, unfounded and unacceptable” punishment.

Thanks to Komu in the comments, we’ve got footage of the gesture…

(Via Guardian)

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  1. JoeT says:

    Wheres the vid yo?

  2. David Badknob says:

    Yeh defo can’t see it being a homophobic gesture. Meireles is as about as hipster as they come.

  3. Özgür Kurtoglu says:

    According to my father, a man born and raised in Turkey, it is indeed considered a very offensive gesture there. Not entirely sure about “homosexual”, but it’s supposedly a gesture implying that the person it’s directed to is someone who participates in anal sex, with the gesture representing an asshole. So…yeah. There’s no way Meireles could’ve known that though.

  4. shay says:

    I don’t know much about Turkish hand gestures but I know what that looks like and can’t see how it could possibly represent someone “caving”. Just saying.

  5. Jarren says:

    I don’t really know what kind of gesture that is, but it definitely doesn’t look “gay”.

    Is there an internationally recognized “gay hand gesture” anyway?

    In all seriousness, Raul chose to play in Turkey so he must learn that they have some big cultural differences with western Europe.

  6. Linda says:

    This is a Portuguese prank show where the prank was that a gay waiter would fawn all over Meireles at a restaurant. I don’t have an exact translation but they have a whole conversation about homosexuality and Meireles really has no problem with any of it. He and his friends just seem a bit baffled and amused by the whole situation.

  7. Punch says:

    Yeah, that gesture means “you’re scared”. It represents a… tightened arsehole (as one is prone to have when the body is tense due to fear). Its a southwestern european thing. Clearly a case of regional expressions being VERY diverse. But in the end that is still calling the referee a pussy to his face. In Portugal it would still be a straight red, but that’s all.

  8. Linda says:

    11 matches, though. That seems more about the countries attitude towards homosexuality. It’s not as bad as other Muslim countries but Amnesty Int. has put out reports on widespread police brutality in Turkey towards anyone perceived as LGBT.

  9. Yo says:

    FYI @Linda: Turkey is a secular country, as in no official religion, since 1924. Now I don’t mean that there are no Muslim there, most of the population is, but this does not make Turkey “a Muslim country”. Therefore comparing Turkey to other Muslim countries is not exactly correct.

  10. Graham says:

    “I have a gay friend” is one tired excuse, but “I have a son”, is one I haven’t heard yet. I’ll have to try that the next time I spit at someone.

  11. porcelain sandwich says:

    I’ve never heard anyone try to protect themselves from accusations of homophobia by pointing out their hairstyle. As stupid as that is, it’s even stupider that Raul doesn’t realise a mohawk and shaved sides makes him look ENTIRELY homophobic.

  12. Alain says:

    Well done Linda, blame it on Muslim culture!

  13. Alan says:

    That’s the actual hand gesture you use in Latinamerica to call someone a coward. In Mexico, we combine it with the words “culo” or “culeado”m referring that someone is afraid of something.

    Cheers Pies!

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