Dissidents rise ahead of Beşiktaş election

Published 21.02.2019 00:35

Ahead of May's election for a new club president, a group of dissidents in Beşiktaş announced a new movement to challenge incumbent chairman Fikret Orman.

The "Great Beşiktaş March" initiative is comprised of new and old members of the club whose fortunes in the Super League dimmed in recent years after a promising start by Orman in 2012.

Beşiktaş is in the third spot in the Super League but still far from its halcyon days with unexpected losses and infighting. Speaking on behalf of the initiative at a press conference yesterday in Istanbul, Ali Rıza Dizdar, a member of Beşiktaş Congress, a powerful body which has a say on elections, said they joined forces to "preserve the values of Beşiktaş and overcome financial problems threatening the club's future."

The club went on a spending spree under Fikret Orman and is in the seventh spot in a list of Turkish clubs with the highest debts with a TL 2.49 billion debt. Dizdar said they were concerned that "interests" of the club were not protected and the administration failed to come up with a solution to financial problems.

Dissidents of Orman say that mounting debt might jeopardize the future of the former powerhouse of Turkish football and force its sale.

After three seasons of dominating the league, victories in the Champions League and Europa League, and stellar transfers, Beşiktaş took a turn for the worst this season, at least in the first half. Financial problems started last April after the Turkish powerhouse missed an opportunity to claim the league title and participate in the UEFA Champions League. The underperforming team has been booed even by its most devout fans and reports of internal conflicts only added to Orman's woes. It recovered from its losses by victories in the second half, though the success is credited to veteran coach Şenol Güneş, who, it is rumored, will leave the team at the end of the season when his contract expires.

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