Football in Turkey

(Redirected from Turkish football)

Football is the most popular sport in Turkey, followed by basketball, tracing its roots to the Ottoman Empire.[1] The first matches were played in Ottoman Salonica in 1875. The sport was introduced by English residents.[2] The Turkish football league system comprises five professional leagues, one of which is dedicated to female athletes.

Football in Turkey
Atatürk Olimpiyat.jpg
Atatürk Olympic Stadium has capacity of 74,753 visiters.
Governing bodyTFF
National team(s)Turkey
First played1898; 125 years ago (1898)
National competitions
Club competitions
International competitions
Nef Stadium is home stadium of club Galatasaray.


Turkey's first football league was established as the Istanbul Football League in 1904. Regional football leagues were founded in many other cities such as Ankara, İzmir, Adana, Eskişehir, Edirne, and Trabzon. Before the introduction of the professional nationwide league, known as Süper Lig today, there were two top-level national championships: the former Turkish Football Championship and National Division. Fenerbahçe dominated Turkish football in those decades, having won three Turkish Championship titles and six National Division titles, both of them records. They were replaced by the Süper Lig in 1959.

League systemEdit

Süper LigEdit

The Süper Lig (Super League) is the top division in Turkey since 1959. The league contains 18 clubs. The champions used to receive an automatic berth in the group stage of the European Champions League until the 2020/2021 season. Galatasaray, Fenerbahçe, Beşiktaş, and Trabzonspor are the most successful Turkish clubs that participate in the competition, having won the most titles so far. Galatasaray have won the highest number of Süper Lig trophies (the club won more Süper Lig and Turkish Cup trophies than any other team), while Fenerbahçe have won the most Turkish championship titles in total to date.[3] However, the Turkish Football Federation denies and does not recognise the titles won in the former Turkish Football Championship and National Division, even though they were official championships organised by the TFF itself.

The league ushered in clubs from all over Turkey to compete with each other. Currently, clubs finishing in the top four places in the league enter qualifying rounds of European competitions, and the winners of the Turkish Cup, if not one of the top four, are also given a spot. The three teams with the fewest points each season are relegated to the TFF First League.

The top two teams are nominated for the UEFA Champions League while the 3rd and 4th placed clubs are nominated for the UEFA Europa League.

Reserve leaguesEdit

Clubs in the Turkish football league system do not have reserve teams with the exception of Genclerbirligi and Altinordu. Hacettepe SK is the reserve side of Genclerbirligi, and Nigde Anadolu FK is of Altinordu. Other clubs have U21 and U18 teams which compete outside the main league system.

Amateur footballEdit

Below the four professional leagues in Turkish football are amateur leagues. Amateur football clubs 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
  • Juniorslubs

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


Cup competitionsEdit

The two major cup competitions are the Turkish Cup and Turkish Super Cup. The Turkish Cup includes clubs from every division. The Super Cup is an annual match held between the winners of the Süper Lig and Turkish Cup.

Now-defunct Turkish cup competitions include the Prime Minister's Cup, Atatürk Cup, Istanbul Football Cup and Spor Toto Cup.

Qualification for European competitionsEdit

Competition Who Qualifies Notes
UEFA Champions League group stage Club finishing 1st in the Süper Lig
UEFA Champions League third qualifying round Club finishing 2nd in the Süper Lig
UEFA Europa League third qualifying round Club finishing 3rd in the Süper Lig
UEFA Europa League second qualifying round Club finishing 4th in the Süper Lig
UEFA Europa League group stage Winner of the Turkish Cup If the winner is already guaranteed a place in Europe, the highest ranked club in Süper Lig which did not qualify to UEFA Champions League will replace them.
UEFA Europa League Süper Lig 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 losers of the Champions League third qualifying round go forward to the UEFA Europa League Play-off round
  • All the losers of the Champions League play-off round go forward to the UEFA Europa League group stage
  • Any clubs playing in the Champions League that finish third in the group stage go into the UEFA Europa League round of 32

European Competition RecordsEdit

The following teams have made the last eight of European competitions:

UEFA Super CupEdit

European Cup / UEFA Champions LeagueEdit

‡ Galatasaray was one of the eight teams in the group stage of the 1993–94 UEFA Champions League, however, UEFA does not consider this a quarter-final participation.

UEFA Cup / Europa LeagueEdit

Inter-Cities Fairs CupEdit

Balkans CupEdit

UEFA Cup Winners CupEdit

UEFA Intertoto CupEdit

Turkey national teamEdit

The Turkey national team made its debut on October 26, 1923. The match ended in a 2–2 draw against the Romania. Turkey have qualified for the FIFA World Cup twice: 1954 and 2002. Their longest duration of competing for the Cup 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.[4][5][6][7][8]

Women's footballEdit



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
2010s: 2010–11 2011–12 2012–13 2013–14 2014–15 2015–16 2016–17 2017–18 2018–19 2019–20
2020s: 2020–21

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Aslan Amani (2013-07-19). "Football in Turkey: A force for liberalisation and modernity?". openDemocracy. Retrieved 2014-06-24.
  2. ^ "Before the national Turkish leagues". Erdinç Sivritepe. Retrieved 15 September 2018.
  3. ^ "Turkey – List of Champions". Rec.Sport.Soccer Statistics Foundation. Retrieved 15 September 2018.
  4. ^ James Davis (2002-04-28). "Turkey's world challenge born in Germany". The Observer. Retrieved 2014-06-24.
  5. ^ Ian Hawkey (2010-10-11). "Ozil's choice is Germany's gain and Turkey's loss". The National. Retrieved 2014-06-24.
  6. ^ Flohr, Markus; Popp, Maximilian (2010-09-17). "Reverse Immigration: Turkey Recruits Players 'Made in Germany'". Spiegel Online. Retrieved 2014-06-24.
  7. ^ McCarra, Kevin (7 October 2003). "German foundation beneath Turkey's rise to greatness". the Guardian.
  8. ^ "Dawn of a new Turkish era - Soccer -".

External linksEdit