Ünal Aysal optimistic about Galatasaray’s finances

Ünal Aysal optimistic about Galatasaray’s finances

ISTANBUL - Anatolia News Agency
Ünal Aysal optimistic about Galatasaray’s finances

Galatasaray chairman Ünal Aysal says he plans to keep the club improving its finances. Aysal plans to cut the Istanbul club’s debt to under $100 million in two years. AA photo

Galatasaray chairman Ünal Aysal painted an optimistic picture of the club’s finances, claiming their debt was on the decline.

Speaking in an interview on Turkish economy channel CNBC-e yesterday, Aysal said the club’s finances had improved dramatically in the year he has been at the helm.

“When I arrived at the chair, the club’s total debt was $327 million,” he said. “The club was technically bankrupt, but it did not [officially] happen.” According to Aysal, the club’s current debt equals $215 million but will be in better shape within two years.

“We aim to cut the debt to under $100 million by 2014,” he said.

Aysal replaced Adnan Polat as the Galatasaray chairman in May 2011. The club was then having its worst season in the Spor Toto Super League with an eighth finish. Aysal, a formerly Belgium-based businessman, oversaw a series of high-profile transfers last summer and the club then won its first national football league title in four years in the his first season.

The club is in a Champions League group against Manchester United, Braga and Cluj and Aysal is aware that the lucrative competition is crucial to the club’s ambitions.

“We want to make it to the top 10 clubs in Europe,” Aysal said. “But right now, we are competing against the teams that are four or five times stronger than us financially.”

The way Galatasaray’s finances dramatically improved raised questions about the health of its budget, but Aysal assured worriers that the club’s flux of money is compatible with the UEFA Financial Fair Play criteria.

The Lions are also leading the Super League with a four-point advantage after just five weeks of play.
When asked about the basketball branch, he stood by his decision to part ways with Oktay Mahmuti.
“I don’t give prizes to failure,” the chairman said.

Mahmuti led the team to finish first in the regular season and was knocked out in the semifinals by eventual champion Beşiktaş. Mahmuti’s Galatasaray also qualified for the Top 16 stage in the Euroleague.