ISTANBUL, July 24 (Xinhua) — Istanbul Basaksehir has won Turkey’s Super Lig for the first time in its history, ending the supremacy of the city’s big three of Besiktas, Fenerbahce and Galatasaray.
Basaksehir, which was established in 1990, secured the title following a 1-0 win over Kayserispor on July 19 with one game still to be played .
Fenerbahce, Galatasaray and Besiktas, Turkish football’s traditional powerhouses, have won the Super Lig title 54 times between them.
Basaksehir, which takes its name from a district in Istanbul, has become only the sixth club to win the league title, after Galatasaray, Fenerbahce, Besiktas, Trabzonspor and Bursaspor.
The club became privately owned in 2014, a rarity in Turkey where most clubs are member-owned by shareholders.
Unlike other major teams, Basaksehir have preferred to focus on young domestic talents, thus saving money on transfer fees and wages while also investing for the future. The club also had consistent management, while many big teams changed their head coaches repeatedly.
“Basaksehir is the best managed club of Turkey. The management is very professional, so their triumph should not be considered as a surprise,” football specialist and sports commentator Arda Alan Isik told Xinhua.
He remarked that the fact that the most recent Super Lig matches were played without spectators because of the COVID-19 pandemic worked in Basaksehir’s favor. “Basaksehir benefited the most from this decision because they have few supporters anyway, so it wasn’t a problem for them,” Isik pointed out.
According to latest figures published by the Turkish press, Super Lig teams have a total of 2.6 billion U.S dollars of debt, most of which concerns Fenerbahce, Besiktas and Galatasaray. The league’s total annual income is meanwhile around 600 million dollars.
Turkish football clubs have also come under the spotlight of UEFA’s Financial Fair Play regulations which have sought to keep clubs’ spending in line with their income.
However, Isik said that it remains to be seen if Basaksehir’s success would be temporary or long-lasting.
“It all depends on how this team will work on increasing its revenues. If the club secures in the long run sustainable finances, if they can manage this, it will also constitute an example for the debt-ridden clubs as well, and be a great achievement overall for Turkish football,” he added. Enditem