Interviews

Saddetin Saran spoke about the presidency of Fenerbahçe! Will he be a candidate?

Sadettin Saran, Chairman of the Board of Saran Group, answered questions about Fenerbahçe president Ali Koç, the presidency of Fenerbahçe, Fenerbahçe's financial structure, his expulsion from Fenerbahçe in 2007, broadcast auctions, the Dortmund adventure, and the corporatization of clubs.

Saran Group Chairman answered questions from Emre Zabunoğlu and Vahap Munyar on SkySpor.

Sadettin Saran, Chairman of the Board of Saran Group, answered questions from Emre Zabunoğlu and Vahap Munyar on Sky Sports. In a special broadcast on SkySpor, Sadettin Saran made striking statements about , the presidency of , Fenerbahçe's financial structure, his expulsion from Fenerbahçe in 2007, broadcast auctions, the Dortmund adventure, and the corporatization of clubs.

“I am proud to be a Fenerbahçe fan”

Question: How did you become a Fenerbahçe fan? What does Fenerbahçe mean to you?

Sadettin Saran: “I became a Fenerbahçe fan at the age of about 5. One day, while sitting in my father's office, someone asked me which team I supported. I didn't support any team. My father's assistant said he was a Fenerbahçe fan, and I became a Fenerbahçe fan too. Fenerbahçe is the largest civil society organization in Turkey. I am extremely proud to be a Fenerbahçe fan.”

“Fenerbahçe should not be dragged into congress ground on the way to championship”

Question: You mentioned that you would be a candidate for the presidency in 2024. Is this plan still valid?

Sadettin Saran: “Fenerbahçe has a path leading to the championship. Our community needs to unite. We need to stand behind Ali Koç. I think it would be a mistake to involve Fenerbahçe in the congress process. Ali Koç has learned the job. He needs to continue. I told him that I want the presidency. If Ali Koç says he's quitting, we are candidates. For now, we will all watch this process together. Ali Koç has been very transparent. Ali Koç is a good person, a good Atatürkist, and a good Fenerbahçe fan. If he doesn't continue, we are ready with our team and rifle.”

Ali Koç

“I see Mr. Ali Koç diligent”

Question: If you become a candidate, what areas do you plan to change in the club?

Sadettin Saran: “The president of Fenerbahçe should be unifying, not quarreling with Fenerbahçe fans. In this regard, I see Mr. Ali Koç as diligent. A true leader does not derive his power from his position; he derives it from his love for people. We do business in 67 countries. With this knowledge, we will hopefully be a president like that.”

“No problems that Fenerbahçe cannot overcome”

Question: Fenerbahçe's financial structure is problematic. There is a significant debt burden. Do you have a plan to solve this problem?

Sadettin Saran: “I don't think it is right to make evaluations at this time. We have ideas, but it's not the time. Fenerbahçe has no problems that it cannot overcome.”

“It was a slander campaign conducted to stain me”

Question: After the transfer of Vladimir Beschastnykh to Fenerbahçe in the 2002-2003 season, you were referred to the disciplinary committee and expelled. Then, you returned to the club, stating that you were unjustly expelled. What do you want to say about this issue?

Sadettin Saran: “It was a very sad process at that time. Now I say, fortunately, it happened. It was a slander campaign conducted to stain me. Only half-witted or ill-intentioned people believed it. The other party could not provide a single piece of evidence, and in the end, justice prevailed.”

Alex de Souza statue

“No need to mention Alex de Souza. Even his statue was erected”

Question: When it comes to star footballers of Fenerbahçe, one of the first clubs that come to mind. If you had to name 3 players with a special place… Who are they?

Sadettin Saran: “No need to mention Alex. Even his statue was erected. Van Hooijdonk was very important. I initiated the contacts, but we didn't get a chance to work together. And Kuyt… Serhat has a special place among Turks. Aykut Kocaman was fantastic. Arda Güler is our pride. I really like Ferdi. The list goes on.”

Beşiktaş - Fenerbahçe

“This season is the season. Fenerbahçe will be champion”

Question: How do you find the team this season?

Sadettin Saran: “I believe this is the season. The team will get even better.”

“Hopefully, this time the broadcast auction will be better. Whether we participate or not…”

Question: You entered the Super Lig broadcast auction, and then TFF announced that it canceled the auction and signed a 2-year agreement with the current broadcasting institution. You said that a historic opportunity was missed, and the clubs did not understand us. Can you tell us about that process? Do you plan to participate in the broadcast auction?

Sadettin Saran: “A historic opportunity was missed. We were the only company that provided a letter of guarantee in that auction. The winning organization did not provide it. We presented a formula there. Until now, the clubs have been slaves to the broadcaster. Let's establish a company, let's put the broadcast here. We said, ‘Be the owner of the broadcast.' We also had a figure we offered, which is now more than what was won. We also suggested sharing the revenue. Some understood it very clearly. Presidents of Fenerbahçe, Galatasaray, Trabzonspor, Sivasspor, Göztepe, and Adana Demirspor understood it well. Unfortunately, others did not understand. Mehmet Bey, the current management, is more knowledgeable about this issue than the previous one. Hopefully, this time it will be better. Whether we participate or not, may it be auspicious…”

Sadettin Saran with Fenerbahçe kids

“I have no thoughts outside of Fenerbahçe”

Question: Let's talk about the TFF. If you were to run for the TFF, what decisions would you make for Turkish football?

Sadettin Saran: “I don't think about anything other than the presidency of Fenerbahçe.”

“I brought Borussia Dortmund to Antalya”

Question: In 2004, you bought shares of Borussia Dortmund. What did this experience add to you? Have there been any talks about any other teams in the following years?

Sadettin Saran: “It added a lot to me. After I resigned from Fenerbahçe, such an opportunity arose. Dortmund has a capacity of 81 thousand and plays to 79 thousand. Bayern Munich, Leverkusen, and the owner of Hamburg called and asked, ‘What are you doing?' We saw this opportunity and took the risk. It became one of my greatest sources of pride. In Germany, expatriates were hugging me. There was always a Turkish flag in Dortmund's emblem in Bild newspaper. Then there were protests. Turkish enemies protested by taking refuge in other things. Then I brought Dortmund to Antalya. I held a press conference, and the next day they wrote that the prince from behind the darkness is saving Dortmund. As success came, the prime minister at that time pressured, and they didn't want a Turk. I sensed it in the press too. Then they pressured. I don't have the experience I have today; since you don't want it, I said, I'm leaving. It was a mistake. If it were today, I wouldn't leave. I acted a bit emotionally. It was a good experience. We talked to Zidane for Cannes, and after that, I don't think about anything other than Fenerbahçe. Nuri Şahin was in the youth academy when I came. He wanted a big figure from a Turkish club, but I prevented it. There was a principle agreement, but I prevented it. I like Nuri. Nuri can be a great role model. He has a special place.”

“Transparency is the most important thing here”

Question: What do you think about the sale of clubs in Turkey?

Sadettin Saran: “Corporateization is always good. One of the biggest problems of clubs in Turkey is the lack of accountability. Someone comes, accumulates debt, and leaves. 90% of those who come are coming to take something. The most important thing here is transparency.”

“The 26th sports hall will be in Hatay”

Question: You opened the 25th sports hall in Şırnak. You are providing facilities to our country. One of the problems in our country is also facilities…

Sadettin Saran: “The 26th will be in Hatay. The state has taken great steps in facility construction lately. Success comes at a young age, but then they disappear. There is an overload. Over 50,000 children use these halls every year. My mother has a nice saying. An empty mind is the devil's playground. We think not only about raising champions but also about giving purpose to our youth.”

Sadettin Saran with kids

“Fenerbahçe is the world's biggest sports club”

Question: In recent years, you have become prominent with the swimming records you broke. You also share a lot of videos related to sports on social media. How would this aspect of you reflect if you become the president of Fenerbahçe?

Sadettin Saran: “We earned the majority of our income from sports. Sports is a very important goal. It is one of the most important goals for our children. Fenerbahçe is very successful in amateur branches. We give the most athletes to the Olympics. I attach great importance to amateur branches. Fenerbahçe is the world's largest sports club. I care a lot. If it comes to this, we will show extra sensitivity.”

“Excuse-making people can never be part of the solution”

Question: You have a very busy business life. You can also allocate time to sports. What would you like to say to those who say they cannot find time for sports?

Sadettin Saran: “Excuse-making people can never be part of the solution. If I can manage 40 companies, allocate time to my family and children, and do sports, everyone can. I'm not saying go and run a marathon. There is no point in not doing one hour each for three days a week.”

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