İlhan Cavcav

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İlhan Cavcav
İlhan Cavcav (2012)
Chairman of Gençlerbirliği S.K.
In office
Preceded byHasan Şengel
Succeeded byMurat Cavcav
Personal details
Born(1935-10-04)October 4, 1935
Ankara, Turkey
DiedJanuary 22, 2017(2017-01-22) (aged 81)
Ankara, Turkey

İlhan Cavcav (4 October 1935 – 22 January 2017) was the chairman of Turkish club Gençlerbirliği in Ankara, Turkey for almost 40 years until his death. He was known for his hard negotiation tactics with the big clubs in Turkey and scouting abilities especially for discovering talent from Africa.

Personal life[edit]

Cavcav was a Kosovo Albanian from Pristina.[1] His father Haşim had 2 wives and 17 children. He owned a flour mill in Mamak and a small bakery shop. İlhan left school at the age of 14 in order to help support the family and started to work with his father as a cashier in the mill. In 1960, he formed his own business and in 1969 he opened his own more modern flour mill in Ankara (Ankara Un Sanayii).

Early years playing football[edit]

At 16, he started to play football with a local team Mamak Maske Spor. When he was 19 he was transferred to another Ankara team PTT Spor (now Türk Telekomspor). Cavcav has stated that PTT expected him to play professionally and he was unable due to his work at the flour mill with his father. Still 19, he briefly joined another local team Bahçelievler Gençlik Spor before ending this period. It was to be years later that he returned to football as a Chairman.

Career as Chairman[edit]

His first trial as a chairman was with the local Ankara team Hacettepe Kulübü in 1976. After Hacettepe relegated in the same season, he resigned from his position. In 1977, he served under Hasan Şengel as a board member in his current club Gençlerbirliği. In 1978's election he became the Chairman for Gençlerbirliği when the team was in Turkish Second League. Gençlerbirliği relegated to Third League in 1979. The Turkish Football federation merged the second and third Leagues in 1980. This was an automatic promotion to second league. In 1983 Cavcav's Gençlerbirliği promoted to Turkish First League. Gençlerbirliği played in 1st League except 1988–89 season when played in 2nd league.

In recent years, Gençlerbirliği fans have been highly critical of Cavcav stating that the club turned into a company seeking for the maximum profit and ignoring the target of success in the Turkish League and in European competitions. Fans are not happy with the situation about the instability of the squad because Cavcav never rejects the transfer offers coming from the big teams in Turkey for the best players of the team.

On the other hand, anti-democratic attitudes in the elections of club management also are used as a means of criticizing Cavcav. Allegations were; in last club elections, nearly 1200 new members were added to the club who were not even Genclerbirligi fan. Opposition group went to court However, the Turkish court did not approve the case.

In November 2014. Cavcav announced that he would be fining bearded players, claiming that they were a bad influence for the youth. Cavcav said that he would fine players that kept their beards 25,000 Turkish Liras and also attacked UEFA for not banning beards in all of its completions.[2]


Cavcav was taken to hospital after falling and hitting his head, which caused a brain hemorrhage. He was kept in intensive care unit. One day later, on January 22, 2017, he was pronounced dead.[3] On January 23, he was buried at Cebeci Asri Cemetery in Ankara.[4]


  • In 1978 Gençlerbirliği S.K. had no training facilities and now the team has one of the largest youth programs in Turkey and 50 acres (200,000 m2) of training facilities in Bestepe, Ankara (Beştepe İlhan Cavcav Tesisleri)
  • He is the longest serving professional football club chairman in Turkey (1978-2017).


  • Cavcav had two sons and both are serving on the current Gençlerbirliği board.
  • He personally visited African nations numerous times for football talent scouting.
  • Gençlerbirliği had 22 chairmen in the 54 years to 1974 and for the last 29 years just one person in the role.
  • Erdal Beşikçioğlu is his nephew and is a fan of Gençlerbirliği, even showing it some of his works, especially in Behzat Ç. Bir Ankara Polisiyesi.


  1. ^
  2. ^ "President of Turkish club Genclerbirligi to fine bearded players". 16 November 2014. Retrieved 16 November 2014.
  3. ^ Legendary Ankara football club chair İlhan Cavcav dies at 81
  4. ^ (in Turkish) İlhan Cavcav Toprağa Verildi

External links[edit]