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SBD Global/June 20, 2013/People and Pop Culture

Turkish Tycoon Aysal The Steady Hand Behind Galatasaray's Success

Turkish businessman and Turkish club Galatasaray Chair UNAL AYSAL, 72, runs 23 businesses, building power plants in gas and electricity, "and he is spreading out to construction and tourism," according to Rob Hughes of the N.Y. TIMES. But the greatest demands on his time "is consumed with Galatasaray." It "is his alma mater; his school, his club, his obsession." Aysal said, "Galatasaray is property rich. We have places across Istanbul, we have 25 million fans around the world. But when I arrived in this role in 2011, the club was $328 million in debt." Aysal "can sum up in a single word where things went wrong." Aysal: "Mismanagement." He "made his own fortune in businesses abroad." But "he is no rich granddaddy throwing his billion dollars at a team" the way that Chelsea, Man City, Ligue 1 side Paris St. Germain and now Monaco do. Aysal is answerable to 12,000 members "who each pay money to belong to an institution that has its roots in the Galata-Sarayi" of Ottoman times. Those members "will certainly re-elect Aysal to continue his restructuring of the club." Aysal: "I'm not the manager. I'm not the boss, and not paying out hundreds of millions. I am here to give a structure. We have to be very realistic, very transparent, very well audited. I pay for it, in the time because every day there is a new situation. I can delegate in business, but I can have only 10 percent of my time with my family." Yet still he runs for re-election, "still he is compelled by the calling of Galatasaray" (N.Y. TIMES, 6/18).
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