Galatasaray is in serious danger of facing disciplinary action from UEFA after the European football body announced that the club was being referred to its Club Financial Control Body (CFCB) adjudicatory chamber as it has run afoul of the Financial Fair Play Regulations over the past couple of years, further adding to the club's already significant store of troubles.
According to a statement on the UEFA website, the CFCB will reach a decision on Galatasaray in February regarding the “necessary actions to be taken as the club has failed to comply with the break-even requirement during the monitoring period assessed in the 2015-16 season.”
The statement also announced that England's Hull City, Greece's Panathinaikos and Portugal's Sporting C, which were also under investigation, were declared to have acted within the regulations. Another Turkish club, Kardemir Karabükspor, is also being monitored, as are Hapoel Tel-Aviv of Israel, Ruch Chorzow of Poland and Rostov of Russia.
“The committee wants to ban Galatasaray from the European cups for 1+1 years. This is not their decision, but the meetings suggest it,” Galatasaray Chairman Dursun Özbek stated during a press conference after being informed of the news by UEFA.
“If there is an improvement in the second year of monitoring us, if there is a loss of 10 million by the end of 2016 and 10 million at the end of 2017, then they recommend only a one-year ban,” Özbek said. “We are working to bring the losses down to 5-10 million euros and minimize spending in the second half. This is not just for UEFA; this is necessary for Galatasaray's survival,” he added.
The UEFA criteria stipulate that a club cannot make a loss of more than 30 million euros for three consecutive seasons. Galatasaray's losses in 2012-13 stood at 38 million euros. In the 2013-14 season the number climbed to 70.4 million, and in 2014-15 it fell to 55.8 million euros. In October 2014 Duygun Yarsuvat became chairman and Özbek was assistant chairman responsible for financial matters.
“In Yarsuvat's time, we saw the [financial] situation Galatasaray was facing. We took some precautions because it was urgent. We cut some expenses. We had 44 players then and we wanted to lighten up by selling and loaning a lot of them. We brought the team down to 25 or 26,” Özbek said, adding, “We still had losses of 55 million [euros].”
“We received a letter from UEFA. It said that according to the agreement, this was not acceptable and it was not possible to rectify the numbers from those three periods before the end of 2016. We explained that the losses for the first half were 30 million euros. However as much of an improvement as it appears to be, UEFA did not accept it,” he said.
Insult to injury
Galatasaray kicked off the new year with a handful of new signings and some good results in both the Spor Toto Super League and the Ziraat Turkish Cup. They won both as well as the Super Cup last season, but this year has been trouble.
Already eliminated from the UEFA Champions League this season, Galatasaray has been focusing on the domestic front for a while. Now, the Lions' troubles continue to multiply this season with the threat of a ban looming over them.
Galatasaray is not the first team to be banned from international competition by the European football body. Rival Fenerbahçe has just returned to UEFA competition, playing in the Europa League now, this very season after serving a two-year ban due to allegations of match fixing in 2011.
The Lions were certainly not interested in following the Yellow Canaries down that road, but they could have been more careful about the regulations, suspecting that there would not be much wiggle room with UEFA.
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