Turkish soccer giants Fenerbahçe asked fans for a helping hand to alleviate the cost of signing star midfielder Mesut Özil.
The footballer earned over $20 million with Arsenal last season while mostly sidelined. Özil is reportedly taking a significant pay cut with his new club.
Fenerbahçe president Ali Koc solicited donations via text message to help cover Özil’s contract.
- “We have a request for our fans,” Koc wrote, according to The Wall Street Journal. “Please continue to support us, we are also dependent on your financial support.”
- Like most professional sports teams, Fenerbahçe’s pandemic-related revenue losses are significant. The club is currently about $630 million in debt.
- Supporters were asked for about 3 euros, with the club eyeing “several million” donations.
Fenerbahçe has asked fans for funding over text in the past, and Özil’s signing presented a new opportunity to revisit the tactic.
The club has a history of instability. UEFA, European soccer’s governing body, sanctioned it in 2019 for violating financial rules.