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Turkish soccer gears up for return, haunted by financial woes

Turkey’s debt-ridden soccer industry is likely to grow more desperate for government support under the bruising impact of the COVID-19 crisis.
A worker in protective suit disinfects the Turk Telekom Stadium in Istanbul, Turkey March 14, 2020. REUTERS/Umit Bektas - RC2OJF9UV6LF

Top-tier clubs in soccer-crazy Turkey are set to return to action June 12 after a three-month pause over COVID-19, but the country’s soccer industry is facing a bleak future as the fallout of the pandemic aggravates its long-running financial troubles.

The industry was already ailing when the novel coronavirus officially arrived in Turkey March 11. It was suffering from financial hardships as well as a decline in sportive success as a result of growing economic and administrative issues in recent years. When the Turkish Soccer Federation (TFF) decided to resume league play behind closed doors, the news was met with vocal objections, especially from club trainers and players, who see the resumption as premature. Yet, money talks.

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