Writing by Patrick Keddie
ISTANBUL – Five minutes before kick-off, Deniz Dogruer was nervous. Her beloved Galatasaray – one of Turkey’s most successful football teams – was about to take on Caykur Rizespor in the Turkish Super Lig. Despite their opponents’ low ranking, Galatasaray were beset by injuries and Dogruer anticipated a tough contest.
But her nerves were misplaced – within seven minutes, Galatasaray’s star player Wesley Sneijder had given them the lead and Dogruer was standing, arms outspread, shouting: “Goal!” In normal times, Dogruer – a journalist and football blogger – would have been celebrating at Galatasaray’s stadium but, like many other passionate Turkish football fans, she has boycotted the controversial Passolig e-ticket system all season and has been watching the matches in a bar.
Attendance has fallen precipitously, compounding a host of other problems that has led many to conclude that Turkish football is in a state of deep crisis. In mid-January, Yıldız Holding – a major sponsor of Turkish football – stated that they were withdrawing their funding from the sport. The announcement renews urgent questions about the problems in Turkish football and many have wondered whether Turkish football might collapse. Some even think that might not be such a bad thing.
[Read the rest of the article published by Middle East Eye here]