Local clubs spend fortune on transfer, but sell cheap
Ceyhun Kuburlu ISTANBUL / Hürriyet
Turkey has the fifth highest transfer deficit in the world at 45.5 million euros up from 35 million euros. AA photoThe transfer deficit in the Turkish football industry is expanding year by year. While Turkish football clubs spend a fortune on purchasing foreign players, the sale of Turkish players to foreign clubs remained weak.
Turkey has the fifth highest transfer deficit in the world, with a total deficit of 45.5 million euros, up from 35 million euros. In light of this, the Turkish finance ministry is now considering discouraging the transfer of foreign footballers through higher taxes.
Millions of euros leave the economy via football clubs’ spending on foreign players, say industry professionals, adding that higher taxes would decrease the transfer deficit of the national football industry.
Turkey, a tax haven
The main reason why foreign football stars prefer Turkey is the tax concessions in the country. The income tax rate for premier league footballers is 50 percent in Japan, 45 percent in Britain and Germany, 43 percent in Spain and Italy, and 40 percent in France. However, it is merely 15 percent in Turkey.
The tax rates for lower league footballers even fall to 5 and 10 percent, which leads foreign players to see Turkey as a tax haven. In addition, Turkish football clubs take it upon themselves to pay the tax liabilities of transferred foreign players.
This trade is also lucrative for foreign football clubs, with seller clubs tending to charge higher transfer fees to Turkish clubs with deeper pockets.
Aging football stars who have started to fall out of favor, particularly in Europe, generally choose Turkey over countries such as Qatar, Japan, China and the U.S. This has had the effect of increasing the average age in Turkish football.
This season, Fenerbahçe paid a handsome 24 million euros to foreign clubs, while earning only 4 million euros in transfer fees. Galatasaray spent a total of 22 million on foreign footballers, but earned nothing from foreign transfers.