Debt restructuring for football clubs is milestone, says federation chair Demirören
Turkey’s Football Federation (TFF) chairman Yıldırım Demirören has described a plan aimed at restructuring the country’s football clubs’ debts, estimated to be some 10 billion Turkish Liras, as a “milestone.”
“The deal the TFF has struck with the Turkish Banks’ Association [TBB] will strengthen the clubs’ financial and administrative structures and represents a strong contribution to Turkish sports,” Demirören said during a televised interview on Jan. 7.
He reiterated that the envisaged plan is all about the restructuring of the existing debts.
“Our clubs have lost credibility. Thus, given this unfavorable situation, restructuring is a must. We are talking about a debt standing at around 10 billion liras. They are all bankrupt. If those clubs were regular businesses, most of them would not be able to take out loans from banks. This restructuring is a milestone and time will prove us right. The arrangement will create a breathing room for the football clubs,” Demirören said.
The plan is not designed to intervene in the clubs’ management, he added.
A similar system was implemented in Spain and worked, according to Demirören.
“The playing will be leveled under the restructuring scheme. Larger clubs will not take out loans. They all compete under equal terms.
Speaking on the same TV broadcast, Hüseyin Aydın, the general manager of the state-run lender Ziraat and TBB’s board chairman, said that as banks they are doing business and the football clubs were their clients.
“We are aware of the problems of the [football] industry. We have been discussing possible remedies for some time,” he added.
Aydın noted that Ziraat Bankası is not the only lender that provides loans to the football industry, dismissing criticism that the bank is shifting focus from the agriculture sector to football clubs.
“We are still engaged in the agriculture sector. There are more than 15 financial institutions that extend loans to the football industry,” he said.
Echoing Demirören, Aydın reiterated that “we will not take over the management of the clubs.”
According to Aydın, the revenues of Turkish clubs are strong and the Turkish league is one of most valuable leagues in the world.
“The annual revenues of the big clubs are around 600 million liras. The problems have accumulated over the years. Some of the clubs are not even able pay the interest of the loan, they have lost their control over their budgets,” he said.