Jul 24 2018

Fenerbahçe drowning in debt, says new club president

Ali Koç, the newly elected president of Istanbul’s Fenerbahçe football club, has announced that the club’s debts have far exceeded previously disclosed figures, running to 621 million euros – a cool 3.2 billion Turkish lira.

“The debt had been disclosed as 400 million euros. As of May 31, our total debt is actually 621 million euros. The largest part of that is financial debt. There are also debts in our sporting activities, and to the state,” said Koç during a Q&A on Fenerbahçe’s television channel.

Worryingly, over two thirds of the debt – 2.2 billion lira – is short term, and must be paid back this year, he said.

The club must also pay a further amount totalling almost another billion lira in operational expenses during the 2018-19 season, bringing the total amount to 4.1 billion Turkish lira (717 million euros).

The club’s income from ticket sales, corporate boxes, television revenues, season tickets and competitions is tied up for years, making a sudden windfall to clear the debt unlikely, and the club’s real estate can not be sold to clear the debt as it has been remortgaged.

A further low-interest loan of $50 million has been secured on the Fenerbahçe board of directors’ guarantee to allow the club to restructure its debt, said Koç.

Ali Koç beat Aziz Yıldırım, the Fenerbahçe president of 20 years, in an election on Jun. 3 this year.