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TURKEY > Drogba the latest step in ‘Galatacticos’ project

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News

Galatasaray CEO says the team is taking steps to be ‘a global brand’ while the marquee signings are two steps in the chairman’s play-it-big mentality

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Galatasaray has sent shockwaves all around the football world by completing two major signings, Didier Drogba (top) and Wesley Sneijder in just two weeks’ time. AFP photo

Galatasaray has sent shockwaves all around the football world by completing two major signings, Didier Drogba (top) and Wesley Sneijder in just two weeks’ time. AFP photo

Çetin Cem Yılmaz Çetin Cem Yılmaz cetincem.yilmaz@hdn.com.tr

Galatasaray announced the signing of Didier Drogba late on Jan. 28, taking another step to turning the Turkish champions into a new version of “Los Galacticos.”

The term, which was initially coined for Real Madrid early in the 2000s, suits well for Galatasaray after the Istanbul giants lured two high-profile players, Drogba and Wesley Sneijder, in the space of just two weeks.

Drogba has signed one-and-a-half season deal with Galatasaray, during which the Ivory Coast international will be paid 10 million euros. Drogba will receive 2 millions euros for the half-campaign this season and will get 4 million next year, in addition to a 4 million euro up front payment. The former Chelsea and Marseille man has mutually terminated his contract with Shanghai Shenhua, after reportedly being worried about financial and internal problems at the Chinese club.

“It’s a very exciting challenge,” Drogba commented on his official website, adding that Galatasaray was an 18-time Turkish league champion and a UEFA Cup winner in 2000. “I cannot wait to discover this historic club, whose reputation for passion is well known. This is a new adventure!”

However, the main focus of his statement was the one highlighting his return to the Champions League, a stage where Drogba has famously shone. In May 2012, Drogba scored a dramatic equalizer and struck the deciding penalty to lead Chelsea to the Champions League title, going on to win the “Man of the Match” award.

Lions mean business

The signing of Drogba is the second blockbuster signing for Galatasaray, which also signed Sneijder from Inter Milan earlier this month, proving that the Lions mean business.

Galatasaray CEO Lutfi Arıboğan says the team is taking steps to being “a global team.”

“Another world class player has opted for Galatasaray as well,” Arıboğan told the club’s official television channel, GS TV. “This year, Galatasaray is very fashionable. We are taking steps to become a global team.”

The marquee signing is another step in chairman Ünal Aysal’s play-it-big mentality.

Aysal, a graduate of the Galatasaray High School, in whose classrooms the club was founded a century ago, and a successful businessman living in Belgium, took over the helm of the club in the summer of 2011. He believes there is only one way to return the club to its glory days - fighting fire with fire:
Spending big, so that the fans will fill the stands of the arena to help the club make full use of its lucrative ground.

Around 40 million euros had been spent on transfers, even before this month’s blockbusters. So far, Galatasaray’s two-season gamble of playing it big duly paid off in the Champions League, the top-level European club competition. In addition to the qualification prize of 8.6 million euros and the broadcasting rights income of 14.5 million, the team’s collection of 10 points and its advancement to the round of 16 will fill the club’s coffers with a further 7 million from UEFA, the continental football’s governing body.

Aside from the Champions League prize money, broadcasting rights, stadium income and merchandizing, Ünal Aysal’s main project is to increase the share capital. The market watchdog the Capital Markets Board (SPK) has approved a 400 percent increase in the club’s share capital.

Market operation

The operation meant Galatasaray Sportif AŞ, which is the name of the company representing the sports club in the market, increased its share capital from 2.7 million Turkish Liras to 13.9 million. This has led to the shareholders paying 25 liras to the company for every 1 lira of their share, in order to maintain their shares as they are. According to the company’s lawyer, Sedat Bozanoğlu, the club profited 175 million from the operation, which was criticized for putting the shareholders under financial burden. Galatasaray is currently waiting for an approval from SPK for a second increase, but there are official complaints from investors and the fate of the club’s financial future could be lying in stock movements as well.

Aysal, the mastermind behind Galatasaray’s “Galacticos era,” is a firm believer in the idea “Sustainable success creates income.” It remains to be seen whether Galatasaray’s success with the figures continues to be translated into the pitch.

Clubs lose in stock market

ISTANBUL – Radikal

Turkish football clubs have lost significant amounts of money in the stock market since the match-fixing case broke one and a half years ago.

Investors in Turkish football’s four biggest clubs: Galatasaray, Fenerbahçe, Beşiktaş and Trabzonspor have lost a total of 500 million Turkish Liras since July 3, 2011, the day the match-fixing investigation went public.

Galatasaray shares have dropped 64 percent, Beşiktaş has fallen 44 percent, Fenerbahçe slid by 41 percent and Trabzonspor shares have dropped 37 percent.

Several club officials were found guilty of match-fixing in the 2010-2011 campaign.

January/29/2013

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