World Bulletin / News Desk
Each year Turkish football clubs pay some $130 million to transfer famous players from around the world but end up with alarming budget deficits, as most of those players prove unproductive commercially because of poor performance and leave only disappointments in the wake of their early departures.
Sports analysts say the economic cost to Turkey as a result of such transfers can exceed $500 million when all other expenses are also taken into account. This issue once again come under the spotlight recently when Trabzonspor, Turkish Premier League's current leader, experienced a fiasco with its transfer of Colombian striker Teofilo Gutierrez, who ended the first season with no goals and left the team, citing health problems as an excuse.
Over the past 10 years of football in Turkey, the long-awaited transfers of Lune Lange, Mario Jardel, Kevin Campbell, Ariel Ortega, Daniel Guiza, Marcelo dos Santos, Miroslaw Szymkowiak, Cassio Lincoln, Marcelo Carrusca, Matias Delgado, Elano Blumer, Rodrigo Tabata, Claudio Maldona and Mateus Alberto Contreiras Gonçalves (Manucho) have stayed in the minds of the Turkish public as complete debacles. The stories of all these and other similar football players are about the same: They perform well for the first couple of weeks in the season and then start to secure their spots on the bench, starting to disappear first from the field and then leave the city of the team they were hired to join. Because most foreign players have clauses put in their contracts that ensure payments independent of their sporting performance, there is no incentive to try hard and repeat the successes of their earlier careers, some commentators say.
These problems are seen most frequently at Galatasaray, Fenerbahçe, Beşiktaş and Trabzonspor, which are referred to as the “Big Four,” as they dominated the Turkish Premier League -- that is, at least until last year, when for the first time in history a team other than these four, Bursaspor, won the crown.
Speaking to Cihan news agency, former Beşiktaş executive and sports analyst İbrahim Altınsoy said football clubs agree on the foreign players' terms when they sign contracts in Turkey, whereas the payments are made strictly in line with the players' performance during matches.
He believes Turkey has become a “retirement paradise” for senior football players who exhausted their careers in European countries such as the UK, Spain and Italy. Sports analyst Temel Yirmibeşoğlu is of the same view, saying Turkey offers more favorable conditions for foreign football players compared to the leading countries in the field of football.
An official from Trabzonspor, who wished to remain anonymous, on the other hand, told the agency that the reason football clubs seem too captivated by foreign players, some of whom prove too costly, is because some “Turkish football players are not contributing to their teams as much as expected either.”
Ineffective football transfers cost Turkey hefty bill each year
Sports analysts say the economic cost to Turkey as a result of such transfers can exceed $500 million when all other expenses are also taken into account.