Galatasaray player Younes Belhanda

Galatasaray terminates Younes Belhanda’s contract after his criticism

Galatasaray bases its decision on player’s comments and his lack of discipline. Government warns against clubs that do not maintain stadiums.

Galatasaray announced on 10 March that it was unilaterally terminating its contract with midfielder Younes Belhanda, after he openly criticised the club’s board of directives and complained about the lack of maintenance of the turf at Istanbul’s Türk Telekom stadium.

In a statement, the Turkish club confirmed the unilateral cancellation of the contract for “justified reasons”: a decision that comes after the 31-year-old Moroccan player, during a statement made last week in an interview with BEIN Sports after a match , accused the club’s board of “going around through the media and social networks” while the turf of the Türk Telekom stadium was in terrible condition.

Although Belhanda later apologised for his comments after the match against Sivasspor, the Galata board considers that his words not only imply “disrespect” but also “damage the image of the club”, adding that it is not the first time the player maintains an undisciplined behaviour within the team.

Government intervenes and warns of sanctions to the clubs

The incident, however, prompted the intervention of the Turkish Minister of Youth and Sports, Muharrem Kasapoğlu, who yesterday warned the country’s football clubs that the poor state of the turf in many stadiums not only puts players at risk (because they can suffer serious injuries), but also damages the image of Turkish football.

Kasapoğlu confirmed that the Turkish Football Federation (TFF) is already working on the problem and that not only will inspections increase, but there could be sanctions against clubs, which he accused of spending money on player transfers while neglecting basic maintenance of their stadiums. “A club that signs so many players is obliged to take great care of its stadium. There is no excuse,” he said in an apparent reference to the controversy generated at Galatasaray.

Younes Belhanda came to Galatasaray in 2017, and since then he has won two league titles with the Istanbul club, a Turkish Cup and a Super Cup, playing a total of 131 games in which he scored 22 goals. The termination of his contract due to criticism of the board comes at a difficult time for Galatasaray, who two days ago lost the league lead to Beşiktaş after an inexplicable loss in a match against MKE Ankaragücü, one of the last classifieds.