Top-flight Turkish football Super Lig clubs will get a cash infusion from a Qatari broadcaster to ease their finances amid the coronavirus pandemic, Turkey’s youth and sports minister said on Friday.
“After our talks with the Super Lig broadcaster, football clubs will be paid today and also next week,” Mehmet Muharrem Kasapoglu told Anadolu Agency Editors’ Desk.
He said Qatar’s beIN Sports would pay 103 million Turkish liras ($15 million) to the clubs on Friday.
The economies of football clubs were disrupted by the coronavirus as it forced Turkish football to halt competitions in March.
The Super Lig resumed last week after a three-month pandemic break, but with strict measures including no live spectators.
Turkey eyes 2021 Champions League final
Kasapoglu said that the 2021 UEFA Champions League final in Istanbul will hopefully be held with fans.
“As you know, the seating capacity of the Ataturk Olympic Stadium was enlarged to 70,000” for the 2020 competition, originally set to be held in Istanbul before the coronavirus derailed those plans, he said.
The stadium, which is an important symbol for the city, is ready for the championship match as a host of preparations were done over a four-month period in line with UEFA specifications, such as technical and lighting systems, lodges, and the pitch, he explained.
Kasapoglu said that in addition to the game, Istanbul’s cultural and historic heritage are also important for sports fans, so Turkey hopes hosting the championship next year will allow for more tourist traffic.
UEFA, European football’s governing body, decided this week that Istanbul will host the 2021 final instead of 2020.
The 2019-20 UEFA Champions League season will be completed with a “Final 8” format with the last match to be played in Lisbon, Portugal on Aug 23.
The top-tier football tournament will resume on Aug. 7 after being suspended in March due to the pandemic.
77,000 did quarantines in dorms
Turning to his duties as youth minister, Kasapoglu said that since March, as a public safety measure Turkey had housed 77,000 people coming from 97 countries for quarantines during the pandemic.
“Not only Turkish nationals, but also foreign nationals stayed in our dormitories for 14 days. There were kids, professionals, students, expats… And they left happy when their quarantines ended.”
Trabzonspor’s Alexander Sorloth, a Norwegian football star, was among those who did a quarantine in a Turkish dorm.
Kasapoglu said that the country provided Sorloth sport equipment so that he could stay strong during the 14-day quarantine.
After finishing his quarantine in May, Sorloth praised the Turkey’s “effective” response to the virus.
In addition to Sorloth, several Besiktas football club players also did quarantines, including Victor Ruiz, Jeremain Lens, Adem Ljajic, Kevin-Prince Boateng, and Kevin N’Koudou.