Turkish football clubs are pawns in the political crisis

There’s an interesting report today in Beyondthepitch on the financially struggling Turkish football clubs becoming pawns in the political struggle between Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and hardcore football fans.

The fans of the major Istanbul clubs have been at the forefront of the recent campaign against Erdogan, and it would appear that the Prime Minister intends to exploit the club’s current financial mess to bring supporters into line.

The Istanbul stock exchange reports the short-term borrowings of Turkish champion Galatasary, Istanbul rivals Besiktas  and Black Sea club Trabzonspor created “uncertainty over the sustainability” of their finances.

Galatasary with a debt-to-cash ratio of 13:1 are in a relatively decent position compared to Trabzonspor’s ratio of 40:1 and Besiktas’ 24:1.

“If Turkish football isn’t reformed, institutionalized and if all goes as it has so far, Turkish soccer is doomed to hit a wall,” said football economist and journalist Tugrul Aksar.

It is this weakness that Erdogan is hoping to exploit.

Among those facing charges are 20 members of Carsi, a Besiktas supporters group, who stand accused of being members of an illegal organization. Carsi’s reply in defiance of the ban on political slogans has been to chant “everywhere is Taksim, everywhere is resistance” during matches echoing a popular June protest tune.

Click on the above link to see the full story.