The Turkish Süper Lig will become the “Istanbul League”


ISTANBUL

With the promotion of Ümraniyespor and Istanbulspor, Istanbul’s number of teams in the Turkish Süper Lig has reached eight, bringing Turkey’s most populous city to the center of Turkish football next season and transforming the organization into an “Istanbul league”.

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In the 2022-23 season, some 19 teams from 11 of the 81 provinces will compete. These provinces are Istanbul, the capital Ankara, the central Anatolian provinces of Konya, Kayseri and Sivas, the Black Sea provinces of Trabzon and Giresun, the Mediterranean coastal provinces of Antalya, Adana and Hatay and the southeastern province of Gaziantep .

However, Istanbul will be the one to dominate the league with the three giants, Beşiktaş, Fenerbahçe and Galatasaray, the 2019-20 season champion Başakşehir, two district teams, Kasımpaşa and Karagümrük, and two newcomers, Ümra-niye and Istanbulspor.

The Süper Lig will host some 324 matches next season, almost half of them, including 144 in Istanbul. Some 36 will be played in Antalya, the city that hosts Alanyaspor and Antalyaspor. In the other provinces, only 18 games will be played in each.

The situation will surely be in favor of the Istanbul teams as each will play 25 of the 36 matches inside the city. An Istanbul team will only leave the city 11 times for away matches.

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Statistics show that a team from Istanbul will cover around 9,000 kilometers during the season.

Gaziantep is the furthest city from Istanbul and its side Gaziantep FK will be ‘the most exhausted team’ next season due to travel to Istanbul eight times.

With the matches in other provinces, Gaziantep FK players will cover about 14,700 kilometers next year, according to the data.

Istanbul teams will be lucky as they will make the “shortest trips” for “away games” inside the city.

Turkey’s third largest city, İzmir, will not be represented in the Süper Lig next season, as the city’s two teams, Altay and Göztepe, have been relegated to the ‘First Lig’ this season.

The two newcomers from Istanbul also provoked a debate between personalities from the Turkish sports world.

“Two teams don’t have their own stadiums. Also, Ümraniyespor has no spectators. Football is not a sport you can play without having the joy of being a spectator,” said Yılmaz Vural, a veteran head coach.

“Teams from Istanbul or Anatolia… I hope to see everyone who deserves to be in the Süper Lig,” commented Recep Uçar, another head coach.

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