Turkish Referee Sparks Ire After Flipping Bitcoin at Istanbul Derby Kick-Off

Turkish daily, Hürriyet, reports that the referee anchoring the latest clash between Istanbul soccer clubs Beşiktaş and Fenerbahçe that ended in a 1-1 draw flipped a Bitcoin-branded coin at the kick-off ceremony, drawing regulatory attention.

Before every soccer match, the referee would flip a coin to determine which team is going to start with the football.

The Turkish Football Federation (TFF) is now examining the case. According to the federation’s rules, referees are only allowed to use either a 1-lira coin or a special referee coin with one side showing a goalpost, and the other a football.

Former referee Murat Fevzi Tanırlı has been quoted describing the derby’s referee Arda Kardeşler’s coin choice as “monkey tricks.”

The TFF said that Kardeşler flipped a “commemorative Bitcoin” without the knowledge or approval of the federation or Turkey’s Central Refereeing Committee.

The 34-year-old, a FIFA-licensed referee with 25 matches in his record this season, is suspected of having signed an agreement with a cryptocurrency platform without the approval of the governing bodies.

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