Aysal to end spell as Galatasaray chairman
Ünal Aysal’s still had two years to complete his tenure as Galatasaray Chairman.Galatasaray chairman Ünal Aysal has announced that he will not run as a candidate in the club’s forthcoming extraordinary congress.
Speaking in an interview televised on Turkey’s state-run TRT television, Aysal said he was “hurt” by some issues and voiced his intent to not seek another term as the club’s chairman.
“I will not be a candidate in the Oct. 25 elections,” he said. “I will support one of the candidates, whoever they are.”
The names of two former chairmen, Alp Yalman and Faruk Süren, have already been suggested as possible candidates. Yalman, who oversaw a successful tenure between 1990 and 1996, was quoted in the media as willing to return to the seat. Süren, who succeeded Yalman for an illustrious five-year period, including four successive league titles and a UEFA Cup victory, has also been listed as a possible candidate. Süren did not personally make himself a candidate, but Aysal named him during the interview and held a dinner with him hours before the highly-publicized program.
Aysal’s decision is surprising, as he still had two years to complete his tenure. A poor run by the football team and a string of highly controversial issues have plagued his last year.
Aysal called for extraordinary elections after feeling “insecure” in the eyes of Galatasaray’s higher council, the highly influential board of veterans, who are believed to be the kings of the club.
“I told them about my projects, but after a week, they called for an emergency meeting. It felt like it was prepared especially against me. It made me feel insecure,” he said, adding that the media and the sport administrators have also played their parts. “There has been a media attack on us since the start of the year. There are even attacks concerning my family. There is a disturbing atmosphere in Turkish sports. Their behavior toward us, the unjust decisions made me feel worse each day,” Aysal said.
In the past year, Galatasaray parted ways with coach Fatih Terim, who went on to manage the national team in a controversial decision. The club has constantly been at odds with the Turkish Football Federation, mainly regarding issues, such as supporter suspensions and bans on the club’s controversial midfielder, Felipe Melo.
The club also forfeited the deciding game of the basketball finals series in protest of the federation. They believed the federation should have ordered a playing ban behind closed doors to Fenerbahçe, after an eventful game.
Despite the turbulent year, the 40-month tenure of Aysal has seen the club return to its glory days in many aspects. A businessman who has lived in Belgium for many years, Aysal led the club to two consecutive league titles and successful performances in the Champions League. He was the mastermind behind the club’s sensational signings, Wesley Sneijder and Didier Drogba, and turned the debt-ridden club into one of the leading money-making clubs in Europe.