In de­fense of Başakşe­hir­spor

Daily Sabah (Turkey) - - Sports -

AT A cru­cial point in the Su­per League ti­tle race, Galatasaray downed leader Başakşe­hir­spor to re­claim the top spot this week­end. The game had noth­ing spe­cial in it­self but was cru­cial given that only five games are left this sea­son and it could prove to be the po­ten­tial ti­tle de­cider. But, it sud­denly be­came the talk of the town af­ter Pres­i­dent Re­cep Tayyip Er­doğan called on Başakşe­hir fans to fill the sta­dium. It was ob­vi­ous, how­ever, that the state­ment had noth­ing to do with Başakşe­hir’s al­leged po­lit­i­cal con­nec­tions since the game was not in its home sta­dium. Still, the Pres­i­dent’s ca­sual calls to­wards foot­ball fans caused a Twit­ter storm, which I think was far from jus­ti­fied.

First of all, Başakşe­hir started off as Is­tan­bul Büyükşe­hir Belediye­spor (Is­tan­bul Mu­nic­i­pal­ity Sports Club, IBBSK) be­fore it changed hands. The mu­nic­i­pal­ity was a pub­lic or­ga­ni­za­tion and there were al­le­ga­tions of the club’s po­lit­i­cal in­volve­ment. In­ter­est­ingly, how­ever, IBBSK’s per­for­mance was nowhere near a club that was backed by gov­ern­men­tal struc­tures. And like an or­di­nary Turk­ish League side, it was even­tu­ally rel­e­gated to the sec­ond divi­sion in 2013.

Now, it is worth ask­ing that if the gov­ern­ment had any plans of back­ing Başakşe­hir or IBBSK more than any other club in Tur­key, would not this have a clear ef­fect on the club af­ter it started com­pet­ing for the top in the Su­per League? But as we can see, the club has gone through a lot of ups and downs in its his­tory, un­like the Is­tan­bul gi­ants who some­how man­age to cling to the top tier de­spite records of hor­ri­ble fi­nan­cial man­age­ment and chaotic ad­min­is­tra­tive pro­cesses.

Se­condly, gov­ern­ment fund­ing for the Is­tan­bul gi­ants is no dif­fer­ent than it is for Başakşe­hir. Since Turk­ish clubs do not hold sta­di­ums, it was up to the gov­ern­ment to build sta­di­ums and hand them over to the gi­ants. In ad­di­tion, these clubs were not man­aged de­cently and had many fi­nan­cial prob­lems, forc­ing the gov­ern­ment to of­fer tax cuts and re­struc­ture debts count­less times in or­der to save them from go­ing under.

Başakşe­hir­spor, in com­par­i­son, has man­aged to con­tinue its jour­ney to the top of the Turk­ish League debt free, even mak­ing around 50 to 60 mil­lion eu­ros in profit an­nu­ally. Un­like the tra­di­tional gi­ants and the poorly man­aged Ana­to­lian clubs, Başakşe­hir play­ers and staff had no prob­lems re­gard­ing con­tracts and pay­ments. It is ob­vi­ous the Is­tan­bul min­now has man­aged to pro­duce one of the clean­est fi­nan­cial per­for­mances in Turk­ish foot­ball his­tory.

Then why are there so many con­spir­acy the­o­ries and so much ha­tred to­wards Başakşe­hir­spor, a club that has achieved so much with half the bud­get of its crosstown ri­vals? The club was bought justly, it is be­ing run justly, and it has achieved fi­nan­cial and sport­ing suc­cess, which should, in fact, in­spire oth­ers. Thus, it seems clear that the an­swer to this ques­tion is not en­tirely re­lated to foot­ball, rather it is cer­tainly about pol­i­tics and I do not in­tend to dive into that abyss. One thing is clear though, Başakşe­hir­spor’s suc­cess and its reliance on long-term projects must be ap­pre­ci­ated while un­founded al­le­ga­tions of its po­lit­i­cal in­volve­ment must be de­nounced, for the game’s sake.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Turkey

© PressReader. All rights reserved.