Football in Turkey: Wikis


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League system

The first league of professional football in Turkey was established as the Istanbul Football League in 1904 by James Fontaine. The league ran until 1959, when it was replaced by the Turkish Super League. Also, football leagues were found especially in Ankara, İzmir, Adana, Eskişehir, Tokat and Trabzon. These league were dissolved after founding city teams beginning from first half of 1960s.


Turkcell Super League

The Turkcell Super League is the top-flight professional football division within Turkey. The league contains 18 clubs, with the champion given an automatic spot in the group stage of the European Champions League. Galatasaray is the most successful Turkish club participating in the competition, having won more trophies than any other club in Turkey. [1] The current Turkish Super League Champions are Besiktas, who won the League and Turkish Cup double in the 2008-9 season.

The league was founded in 1959 as a replacement to the Istanbul Professional League. This league ushered in clubs from all over Turkey to compete with each other. Currently, clubs finishing in the top four places in the league are put into qualifying rounds of European competitions, while the winner of the Fortis Turkey Cup, if not one of the top four, is also given a spot. The three teams with the fewest points at the end of the season are relegated to the Bank Asya First League.

The top two teams are put into Champions League qualifying while 3rd place is put into UEFA Cup qualifying and 4th place is put into the UEFA Intertoto Cup.

The Turkish football league system

Below the four professional leagues in Turkish football are the amateur leagues.

A2 leagues

Clubs in the Turkish football league system do not have reserve teams (with the exception of Genclerbirligi). Instead, clubs have under-twenty and under-18 teams. This means any player in contract with a club that is over twenty years of age is automatically placed in the senior squad.

Amateur football

Amateur football clubs throughout Turkey include:

  • Seniors’ First Amateur League: 2145 clubs
  • Seniors’ Second Amateur League: 1743 clubs
  • Seniors’ Third Amateur League: 1 club
  • Women’s League: 9 clubs
  • Juniors’ First Amateur League: 27 clubs
  • Juniors’ Second Amateur League: 100 clubs
  • Juniors’ Super League is divided in 8 regional leagues.

Amateur clubs are put into leagues included in the Amateur League system in Turkey and are eligible for promotion into the Turkish Third League.

Cup competitions

There are currently two major cup competitions in Turkish football. They are the Fortis Turkey Cup and Turkish Super Cup. The Fortis Turkey Cup includes clubs from every division of football in Turkey, while the Super Cup is an annual game held between the winner of the Turkcell Super League and Fortis Turkey Cup.

Throughout the history of Turkish football, there have been many other cup competitions. These are all defunct, and are listed below:

  • Atatürk Cup
  • President Cup
  • Chancellor Cup
  • Istanbul Cup
  • Fleet Cup
  • TSYD Cup
  • Spor-Toto Cup

Qualification for European competitions

Competition Who Qualifies Notes
UEFA Champions League groupe stage Club finishing 1st in the Turkcell Super League
UEFA Champions League third qualifying round Club finishing 2nd in the Turkcell Super League
UEFA Cup First round Club finishing 3rd in the Turkcell Super League
UEFA Cup Third qualifying round Winner of the Fortis Turkey Cup If the winner is already guaranteed a place in Europe, the runners-up are sent.
Intertoto Cup Club finishing 4th in the Turkcell Super League If the fourth-placed club has already qualified for Europe through the Fortis Turkey Cup, then the next-highest Super League finishers get this place
UEFA Cup Turkcell Super League club with the best UEFA Fair Play ranking that has not already qualified for Europe, but only if Turkey has the best fair play ranking or has a fair play score of above 8 and is one of the two countries drawn out of the hat

In addition, once in a European competition, it becomes possible to qualify for others:

  • All the winners of the Champions League Third Qualifying Round go forward to the Champions League
  • All the losers of the Champions League Third Qualifying Round go forward to the UEFA Cup
  • All the winners of the UEFA Cup Second Qualifying Round go forward to the UEFA Cup
  • All the winners in the Intertoto Cup Final Round go forward to the UEFA Cup Second Qualifying Round
  • Any clubs playing in the Champions League that finish third in the group stage go into the UEFA Cup Third Round

European Competition Records


UEFA - UEFA Cup.svgGalatasaray (1999-00 - Champion)

UEFA Super Cup

UEFA Super Cup WinnerGalatasaray (2000 Champion)

UEFA Champions League

The following teams have qualified for elimination rounds in the UEFA Champions League.

European Cup

UEFA Cup Winners Cup

The Turkish national team

The Turkish national team's first match came on October 26, 1923 in a 2-2 draw with the Romania national football team. Turkey have qualified for the FIFA World Cup twice, in 1954 and 2002. Their greatest success was coming third in the 2002 FIFA World Cup. Turkey also finished third in the 2003 Confederations Cup, reached the semi-finals of Euro 2008 and played in the quarter-finals of Euro 2000.

Women's football

History of Turkish football

Stadiums of Turkish football

For more details on this topic, see List of Turkish football stadia by capacity.

Seasons in Turkish football

1900s: 1904-05 1905-06 1906-07 1907-08 1908-09 1909-10
1910s: 1910-11 1911-12 1912-13 1913-14 1914-15 1915-16 1916-17 1917-18 1918-19 1919-20
1920s: 1920-21 1921-22 1922-23 1923-24 1924-25 1925-26 1926-27 1927-28 1928-29 1929-30
1930s: 1930-31 1931-32 1932-33 1933-34 1934-35 1935-36 1936-37 1937-38 1938-39 1939-40
1940s: 1940-41 1941-42 1942-43 1943-44 1944-45 1945-46 1946-47 1947-48 1948-49 1949-50
1950s: 1950-51 1951-52 1952-53 1953-54 1954-55 1955-56 1956-57 1957-58 1958-59 1959-60
1960s: 1960-61 1961-62 1962-63 1963-64 1964-65 1965-66 1966-67 1967-68 1968-69 1969-70
1970s: 1970-71 1971-72 1972-73 1973-74 1974-75 1975-76 1976-77 1977-78 1978-79 1979-80
1980s: 1980-81 1981-82 1982-83 1983-84 1984-85 1985-86 1986-87 1987-88 1988-89 1989-90
1990s: 1990-91 1991-92 1992-93 1993-94 1994-95 1995-96 1996-97 1997-98 1998-99 1999-00
2000s: 2000-01 2001-02 2002-03 2003-04 2004-05 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10


  1. ^ In addition to their 16 Football League titles, they have won the most number of Turkish Cups. Galatasaray is also the only Turkish club to have lifted a European Championship Cup and, thus, became European Champions.

See also


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