A match made in geopolitical heaven?

Is the agreement between City Football Group, controlled by senior members of the UAE government, and İstanbul Başakşehir, the favourite team of Turkey’s ruling party (AKP), a means to ease tensions between the two states?

By Ekim Caglar

The collaboration agreement between City Football Group (CFG) and İstanbul Başakşehir Football Club (IBFK), announced in February, was expected after months of rumours. According to CFG, the project aims to “provide consultation across various footballing projects – including long-term football strategy, recruitment, scouting and coaching methodology – as IBFK aims to grow and strive for success.”

The political angle of the collaboration was not difficult to predict. On the one side of the partnership, we find one of the world’s most powerful multi-club networks under the leadership of the Abu Dhabi royal family member Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, deputy prime minister and vice president of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). On the other side we find, perhaps, the most politicised club in Turkey in the recent decades.

There is a reason for this collaboration to start in the field of sport. The agreement means that “CFG will provide advice focusing on achieving long-term plans and sustainability, with the best-practice guidance across player recruitment strategies, academy development and use of data insights.” The partnership is also based on the fact that the collaboration opens up opportunities for CFG to accumulate knowledge and develop relations in Turkey. Who would not want to strengthen its ties to a football-crazy country with a talent pool that would make many countries in Europe jealous?


You must be a subscriber to read this article

Josimar is entirely dependent on our subscribers to tell the stories from football that matter. Become a subscriber today!

Zeen is a next generation WordPress theme. It’s powerful, beautifully designed and comes with everything you need to engage your visitors and increase conversions.