Football in Turkey

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Football in Turkey

Football is one of the favorite sport disciplines all around the world, also in Turkey. Each season, the fans follow their clubs results, as well as the careers of Turkish players abroad. Turkish clubs often have a very rich tradition (sometimes exceeding even 100 years) and loads of various successes and trophies. It’s a real honor to wear one of their shirts, both for the Turkish players, as well as the foreigners, being transferred to Turkey. The prestige connected with representing Galatasaray or Fenerbahce attracts the players from the whole world. That is why Turkish league is one of the most interesting in Europe

Turkish Football Federation and its authortities

TFF (Turkish Football Federation) is the domestic football federation, which can legitimately be the sole representantive of the Turkish football. It concerns every age group, both women and men. It takes custody over the Turkish national team, Turkish leagues and Turkish cup. The federation was founded in 1923. The same year it joined FIFA’s structure. In 1962 it joined UEFA. The current TFF’s chairman, ruling from 2012 is one of the Turkish businessmen – Yıldırım Demirören, who before was the chairman in Besiktas JK. Resigning from Besiktas, he took control of the Turkish Football Federation.

Turkish League’s system

League matches in Turkey take place in 4 leagues. The highest tier is Süper Lig, from which the teams can qualify to Champions League and other European competitions. The lower tears are called 1. Lig, 2. Lig and 3. Lig.

Super Lig

Turkish Süper Lig is the highest level of league competition in Turkey. Its history dates back to 1959. Primarily, it was created with the name Federasyon Kupası. Afterwards, the name changed into Milli Lig. In the sixties, the name was changed once again, this time into 1. Lig. Finally, in 2001, the highest league tier was given the name Super Lig and that’s how the situation looks like until today. Currently, 18 teams year by year stand up to the league battle. The battle lasts 34 rounds, after which we know the name of the current champion. This team qualifies directly to Champions League next season. Next team plays in the qualification round and the three latter teams battle in Europa League. On the other side, three teams with the lowest number of points are relegated to 1. Lig. Each of the 34 rounds has 9 matches, which in total gives us an amount of 306 games per season.

The first Turkish champion, after the league’s establishment in 1959 was Fenerbahce Istanbul. The next season ended with very different outcomes, which is resembled directly in the overall title classification. As for now, Galatasaray Istanbul is the most titled team in Turkey, winning the league 20 times. 10 times it finished second and 16 times ended the season as the third one. Slightly behind Galata, we have Fenerbahce with only one league title less than their fierce rivals. They also ended the season as the runners-up 21 times and 16 times they ended as third ones. The third place in this ranking is occupied by Besiktas, which can be proud of its 15 league titles. Afterwards we have Trabzonspor (6 titles) and Bursaspor (1 victory).

1. Lig

1. Lig is the second tier in the league’s hierarchy. It was created in 1964. It has the current name since 2001 and the reorganization of Turkish League system. Before, it was called 2. Lig. Primarily, the league comprised 20 teams, nowadays it is 18. Before the 2005 season, three best teams were promoted from 1. Lig to Super Lig and 3 worst were degraded to 2. Lig. However, the changes which took place in 2005, introduced new rules. From now on 2 best teams are promoted from the league and 4 teams have the chance to be promoted, playing the in the play-off round. The rule about the relegation of 3 teams still applies.

Turkish League table – season 2016/2017

In the last season we could observe a marvelous form of Besiktas players. As you can see, the team earned impressive 77 points in 34 matches, firmly winning the league. The team noted 23 wins, 8 draws and only 3 losses. That is how Besiktas won their 15th league title. Apart from it, the team played very well on the European arena, reaching Europa’s League quarterfinals. During the whole season, the team scored 73 goals. The second place this season was reserved for the league’s revelation – Buyuksehir team, also from Istanbul. The team ended the season with 73 points and 63 goals scored. Fenerbahce closes the podium, finishing 3rd. The team managed to note 18 victories, 9 draws and 6 losses, which gave them 64 points overall. Galatasaray earned an equal number, however they had worse balance then Fenerbahce. It is interesting to note that this season we saw 5 teams from Istanbul in the highest tier, four of which placed themselves at the top of the league. Ankara has two teams in the highest league. Other cities have only one representative.

2016/2017 Super Lig Top Scorers

Some of the players showed a really impressive form this season, largely contributing to their teams’ final successes. The title for the top scorer went to well-known Brazilian Vagner Love, who reminded himself how to score goals. Vagner Love, playing right now in Alanyaspor, ended the season with 23 goals. Right behind we saw Cenk Tosun from Besiktas with 20 goals. The third place was reserved for one of the most popular, renown players in Turkish League –Samuel Eto’o, who plays for Antalyaspor. Cameroonian managed to score 18 goals. Another incredibly known player, Robin Van Persie from Fenerbahce scored 9 goals, which gave him the 19th place. Lukas Podolski from Galatasaray scored 7 goals, being 25th in this rank.

League’s Top Scorers’ history

The first Top Scorer crown went to Metin Oktay from Galatasaray. He is one of the Turkish football legends, reaching for the top scorer title six times (3 times in a row in years 1959-61). Tanju Colak (also from Galata) won this title 5 times. 3 times the title went to Cemil Turan (Fenerbahce), Aykut Kocaman (also Fenerbahce) and Hakan Sukur (Galatasaray).

Football world stars in Turkish League – the most interesting transfers

Year by year, the Turkish league is becoming more and more popular and powerful, attracting latter football stars to join the teams. The recent history shows that Turkish teams can become an arena for really remarkable players, such as Frank Ribery, who spent one of his first seasons in Galatasaray. Also Didier Drogba played for Galatasaray for 1.5 year. Bursaspor managed to sign a well-known French goalkeeper – Sebastian Frey. Right now, Galatasaray has one of the most famous Dutch players – Wesley Sneijder. After playing for such titled clubs as Ajax Amsterdam, Real Madrid and Inter Milan, he decided to continue his career in Galatasaray. Other current league stars are i.e. Raul Meireles, Samuel Eto’o, Fernando Muslera (being the league’s most expensive transfer), Lukas Podolski or Robin van Persie. Besiktas has for example Fabricio or Ryan Babel. The greatest Super Lig transfer of last years is Alex de Souza. The Brazilian spend in Fenerbahce 8 beautiful years, playing from 2004 to 2012 and becoming one of the club’s legends.

The forthcoming season

The new season started few weeks ago, giving the fans an opportunity to witness beautiful actions and goals. The league started exactly on the 11th of August. The first match of the season were held between the teams Buyuksehir and Bursaspor. League games will continue up to May, when the last, 34 round will take place. The last game will a meeting between Fenerbahce and Konyaspor.

Turkish Cup

Turkish Cup is held year by year, being organized by its domestic federation. First it took place in the season 1962/1963 (soon after establishing the league). Between 1983 and 1991 it was known as the “Federation Cup”. The competition is divided between group and final stages. 48 teams can participate in the cup, from which 18 come from the Super Lig, 18 from the 1. Lig and 12 from 2. Lig. The winner of the tournament qualifies automatically to the Europa League’s competition. The highest number of cup victories belongs to Galatasaray, winning 17 trophies. Galatasaray is also the team, which won the first cup edition in 1963. Next we have Besiktas with 9 trophies and Trabzonspor with 8 titles. The best scorer in the cup’s history is Hami Mandirali (Trabzonspor) – his impressive score is 31 out of 54 matches. On the second place with Cemil Turan (Fenerbahce), who scored 30 in 55 games. Another great player is classified third – Fevzi Zemzem (Göztepe), who scored 30 goals in 40 matches.

Turkish Supercup

Turkish supercup is organized by Turkish Federation. The match includes the current league champion and cup holder. In case the same team won the league and the cup, the other team is usually the cup’s finalist. The Supercup clash is always played before the start of the regular season. In case of a draw, there is always the extra 30 minutes added. If the result is still a draw, the penalty shootout takes place. The first supercup match was held in 1966. It was under the name of „President’s Cup”. The first winner was of course…Galatasaray, which turned out to be victorious in the clash against Besiktas, winning 5-1. Galata is the most titled club, taking into account the whole Supercup history, winning the trophy 12 times.

3 Turkish Giants

Fenerbahce SK Istanbul

This Turkish club, based in Istanbul, was founded over 100 years ago – in 1907. At the time of its foundation, it was the third Istanbul club (after Galatasaray established in 1905 and Besiktas created in 1903). Right now Fenerbahce is the second most titled club in Turkey. It has 19 league championships, 6 Turkish Cup victories and 9 Supercup victories. Apart from this, the club managed also to get to the Champions League quarterfinal. The club was led by then by Roberto Carlos, a famous Brazilian footballer. Fenerbahce is often called „Yellow Canaries”, because of their yellow and dark blue jersey colors. The current president of the team is Aziz Yildirim, while the coach Aykut Kocaman. Fenerbahce plays and trains on the Şükrü Saracoğlu, which derives its name from one of the Turkish famous politcians. Right now, Fenerbahce has in its squad one of the biggest stars of Dutch and World football – Robin Van Persie. However the biggest legend is Alexandro da Souza (called as Alex), playing in the club between 2004 and 2012. Other recognizable players in the recent years were i.e. Bruno Alves, Milos Krasic or Nani.

Galatasaray SK Istanbul

Galata is the second oldest club from the capital. It was established in 1905. It is not the oldest one, but the most titled one. Apart from 20 Super Lig titles, 14 Turkish Cup titles, and 15 Supercup trophies, Galatasaray is also the only Turkish club to win a European trophy, winning UEFA CUP in 2000, beating Arsenal in the penalty shootout. The same year Galata also won the European Supercup, beating Real Madrid. Thereby Galatasaray became the best club in the world in 2001. Their current coach position is occupied by Igor Tudor, while Dursun Aydın Özbek is being the chairman. Galatasaray plays on the Türk Telekom Arena, after moving from the legendary Ali Samiyen. Their last season squad features such world star players as Wesley Sneijder, Lukas Podolski or Fernando Muslera.

Besiktas JK

The last from the Turkish „big trio”, being also always among the favorites to the title. Established in 1903, won the Super Lig title in 1960, repeating this success 14 times (including the last season). Besiktas also won the Turkish Cup 9 times, just as the Supercup. Because of their white and black jerseys, Besiktas players are nicknamed as the „Black Eagles”. Along with Fenerbahce and Galatasaray, the club constitutes the big trio from Istanbul. Senol Gunes is their current coach, while the chairman function is held by Fikret Orman. Besiktas plays at Vodafone Arena. The most notable squad members are i.e. Fabricio, Adriano or Ryan Babel. A year ago, also Mario Gomez was playing here, during his loan from Fiorentina. In his single season in Turkey, he earned the Top Scorer’s crown for the season 2015/16.

Turkish national team

Turkish National Team was established in 1923, along with establishing of the Turkish Football Federation (TFF). The major success were i.e. the third place in Korea-Japan World Cup in 2002 or the quarterfinals and semi-finals in Euro 2000 and 2004. Right now, led by another legendary Turkish coach, Fatih Terim, the team is situated on the 33rd place in the FIFA’s ranking. Mehmet Topal is the current’s captain.


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