Work in Sports
Big day off
Galatasaray clinches title with Besiktas defeat
Posted: Sunday May 14, 2000 04:59 PM
ISTANBUL (Reuters) -- Galatasaray won the Turkish league title on Sunday for the fourth consecutive time, leaving only the UEFA Cup final against Arsenal between it and a historic treble.
Second-placed Besiktas lost 3-1 at home to Fenerbahce in Istanbul on Sunday evening, leaving Galatasaray with an unassailable six-point lead at the top of the first division with one game left to play.
Galatasaray has already retained the Turkish Cup.
Coach Fatih Terim's team of Turks, Romanians and Brazilians has dominated Turkish soccer in recent years and has had a giant-slaying season in European competition.
On Monday, they are expected to fly to Copenhagen ahead of Wednesday's UEFA Cup final against England's Arsenal.
Success on the field is marred only by reports of financial trouble at the Istanbul club.
The club's international striker Hakan Sukur was quoted on Sunday as saying that Galatasaray had not paid their players.
"It's true that we haven't been able to get our money for eight months," the Milliyet newspaper quoted Sukur as saying. "But money is not everything. We play for our love of Galatasaray."
A Galatasaray official declined to comment on the report. It was not clear whether Sukur was referring to regular wages, lump sums agreed before the start of the season or to bonuses owed to players for the team's recent run of victories at home and in European competition.
That run came to an end on Friday when Galatasaray lost 1-0 to lowly league opposition Altay in the western city of Izmir.
Coach Terim had fielded a weakened side to rest key players ahead of the UEFA Cup final.
Turkish media have reported that Galatasaray have financial problems. The club has started a sales campaign, trying to sell official shirts and merchandise to fans ahead of the UEFA Cup final.
"We talked to the chairman. He said all the problems would be solved by May 21. We believe him," Sukur said.
Coach Terim told reporters last week the club needed sounder finances if it wanted to stake a place among Europe's best clubs.
Sukur also warned against taking the Altay result as a guide to Galatasaray's form.
"There is no way it's an indictator for the Arsenal match. We are all excited by the final. Our fans should not worry, we'll be celebrating as champions on our return," he said.