Galatasaray S.K.

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"Galatasaray" redirects here. For the football team, see Galatasaray S.K. (football). For other uses, see Galatasaray (disambiguation).
Galatasaray S.K.
Galatasaray Sports Club Logo.png
Full name Galatasaray Spor Kulübü
Nicknames Cimbom
Aslan (The Lion)
Sarı-Kırmızılılar (Yellow-Reds)
Avrupa Fatihi (Conqueror of Europe)
Gala (Mostly used outside of Turkey)
Founded 30 October 1905; 110 years ago (1905-10-30)[1][2][3]
as Galata-Serai Football Club[4]
Colors           Red and Yellow
President Dursun Aydın Özbek
Active departments of Galatasaray
Football pictogram.svg Volleyball (indoor) pictogram.svg Volleyball (indoor) pictogram.svg
Football Volleyball (Men's) Volleyball (Women's)
Basketball pictogram.svg Basketball pictogram.svg Wheelchair basketball pictogram (Paralympics).svg
Basketball (Men's) Basketball (Women's) Wheelchair Basketball
Athletics pictogram.svg Equestrian pictogram.svg Judo pictogram.svg
Athletics Equestrian Judo
Rowing pictogram.svg Sailing pictogram.svg Swimming pictogram.svg
Rowing Sailing Swimming
Water polo pictogram.svg Water polo pictogram.svg Poker-sm-211-As.png
Water Polo (Men's) Water Polo (Women's) Bridge
Chess pictogram.svg
Chess Team

Galatasaray Spor Kulübü (Turkish pronunciation: [ɡaɫatasaˈɾaj ˈspoɾ kulyˈby], Galatasaray Sports Club) is a Turkish sports club based in Istanbul's European side, most notable for its association football section. It also fields teams in athletics, basketball, wheelchair basketball, volleyball, water polo, swimming, rowing, sailing, judo, bridge, equestrianism, handball, tennis and Superleague Formula motorsports. Galatasaray S.K. is one of the most important members of the Galatasaray Community together with Galatasaray University and Galatasaray High School.

The football team of the club is the only European cup winner team in Turkey, holding the highest number of Turkish League cups, TSYD Cup, Turkish Super Cup as well as Turkish Cups.[5][6] Galatasaray won the UEFA Cup and the UEFA Super Cup in 2000.

İhsan Emre Vural and his teammate Ahmet Yumrukaya became the first world-champions in the history of Turkey when they finished first in the 2004 Under 23 World Rowing Championships held in Poznań, Poland.[7] The club's Wheelchair Basketball team won the Champions Cup in 2008, 2009, 2011, 2013 and 2014. They also won Kitakyushu Champions Cup and became world champion in 2008, 2009, 2011, and 2012.[8][9] Galatasaray women's basketball team won the 2013–14 EuryoLeague Women and FIBA Eurocup in 2009.[10]


The name Galatasaray comes from that of Galatasaray High School, which in turn takes its name from Galata Sarayı Enderûn-u Hümâyûn (Galata Palace Imperial School), the name of the original school founded on the site in 1481. This originates its name from the nearby medieval Genoese citadel of Galata. Galatasaray translates directly as 'Galata Palace'.[11]


Galatasaray SK was founded in October 1905 (the exact day is disputed, but is traditionally accepted as "17 Teşrinievvel 1321[3]" according to the Islamic Rumi calendar, which corresponds to "30 October 1905" according to the Gregorian calendar) by Ali Sami Yen and other students of Galatasaray High School (a high school in Istanbul which was established in 1481) as a football club. Ali Sami Yen, who became Galatasaray SK's first president and was given the club's membership number "1", was the son of Şemseddin Sami (Frashëri), an Ottoman writer, philosopher and playwright of ethnic Albanian origin, and a prominent figure of the Rilindja Kombëtare, the National Renaissance movement of Albania.[12]

The club's first match was against Cadi Keuy FRC and Galatasaray won this game with a score of 2–0.[13] There were discussions about the club's name, in which some suggested Gloria (victory) and others Audace (courage), but it was decided that its name would be Galatasaray.[14]

According to researcher Cem Atabeyoğlu, Galatasaray took its name from one of its first matches. In that match, Galatasaray won 2–0 over Rûm club and the spectators called them "Galata Sarayı Efendileri" (in English: Gentlemen of Galata (City) Palace), and, after this event, they adopted that name and started to call their club "GalataSaray". In 1905, during the era of the Ottoman Empire, there were no laws for associations so the club could not be registered officially, but, after the 1912 Law of Association, the club registered legally.[15]

Among with the founder Ali Sami Yen, the co-founders were the ones who were keen to do this sport, such as Asim Tevfik Sonumut, Reşat Şirvani, Cevdet Kalpakçıoğlu, Abidin Daver and Kamil.[11]

At first, the colors of the Galatasaray Sports Club were red and white. These are the colors in Turkish flag. However, Turkish Republic was not founded at that time. Therefore, this inspiration caused repressive administration of the day feel uncomfortable and the administration hounded the footballers. For this reason, the colors were changed to yellow and dark blue till 1907. In 1908, new colors were chosen as red and yellow. Ali Sami Yen stated, "We were imagining brightness of yellow - red fire over our team and thinking that it would carry us from one victory to another."[15]

While the football in Turkey began to fully develop, Galatasaray won ten more Istanbul League titles[citation needed], six Sunday League titles[citation needed] and three Friday League titles until 1952[citation needed]. Upon recognition of professional football in 1952, the first professional but non-national league of Turkey, Istanbul Professional League played between 1952 and 1959. Galatasaray won three of these seven titles.[citation needed]

Turkcell Super League formed in 1959. This is the top-flight professional league in Turkish nationwide football, and the most popular sporting competition in the country. Galatasaray joined all seasons and won 19 league titles since then.[16]

The Turkish Football Federation started to organize "Turkish Cup" (today it is organized with the name Ziraat Turkish Cup) in the 1962–63 season for Turkish clubs to qualify for the UEFA competitions. This is the only national cup competition in Turkey. Galatasaray joined all seasons and won 14 trophies since then.[17]


The first Galatasaray SK crest.

Galatasaray's first emblem was a figure of a spread-winged eagle with a football in its beak, drawn by 333 (Galatasaray High School student number) Şevki Ege. This was replaced in 1925 by the current “Ghayn-Sin” crest, designed by Ayetullah Emin.[18]

Team colours and kit[edit]

Galatasaray's classic home kit

Galatasaray wore red and white colours when founded, then played in dark yellow and dark blue during the 1907–1908 season.

For a match against the football team of the Royal Navy cruiser HMS Barham's crewmen, played on 8 December 1908, Galatasaray finally settled on playing in red and yellow.

Ali Sami Yen, the main founder of Galatasaray, wrote the following in his diaries:

“Our goalkeeper Asım Tevfik, left-forwarder Emin Bülent and right midfielder Ali Sami Yen were commissioned for the task of determining the new team colours. After we had been in and out of several shops, we saw two different elegant-looking wool materials in Fat Yanko’s store at Bahçekapısı (between Eminönü and Sirkeci in Istanbul, now called Bahçekapı). One of them was quite dark red, resembling the cherry colour, and the other a rich yellow with a touch of orange. When the sales clerk made the two fabrics fly together with a twist of his hand they became so bright that it reminded us of the beauty of a goldfinch. We thought we were looking at the colours flickering in burning fire. We were picturing the yellow-red flames shining on our team and dreaming that it would take us to victories. Indeed it did.”

The red and yellow colours were also inspired from the roses which Gül Baba offered to Sultan Bayezid II.[19]


The Continental Quadruple won by Galatasaray in the 1999–2000 season, displayed at the Galatasaray Museum: The 2000 UEFA Super Cup, the 1999–2000 UEFA Cup, the 1999–2000 Turkish Super League Championship Cup and the 1999–2000 Turkish Cup.
Sport Teams
Football Galatasaray S.K. (football)
Volleyball Galatasaray S.K. (men's volleyball)
Volleyball Galatasaray S.K. (women's volleyball)
Basketball Galatasaray S.K. (men's basketball)
Basketball Galatasaray S.K. (women's basketball)
Wheelchair Basketball Galatasaray S.K. (wheelchair basketball)
Athletics Galatasaray Athletics
Bridge Galatasaray Bridge
Equestrian Galatasaray Equestrian
Judo Galatasaray Judo
Rowing Galatasaray Rowing
Sailing Galatasaray Sailing
SL Formula Galatasaray S.K.
Swimming Galatasaray Swimming
Water Polo Galatasaray Men's Water Polo Team
Water Polo Galatasaray Women's Water Polo Team
Handball Galatasaray Handball Team
Chess Galatasaray Chess Team [20]
Tennis Galatasaray Tennis Team (to be opened soon) [21]

Defunct departments[edit]

  • Gymnastics 1868
  • Wrestling 1887
İstanbul Championship: Winner(8) 1945 to 1955[citation needed]
Turkish Championship: Winner(2)[citation needed]

The first boxer in Turkey was Sabri Mahir.

  • Swedish Gymnastics 1908
  • Hockey 1911
  • Field Hockey 1915
  • Baseball 1925
  • Table Tennis 1925
  • Cricket 1926
  • Aviation & Gliding 1931
  • Skiing & Mounteenering 1931
  • Motocross 1931
  • Fencing 1931
  • Water ballet 1995

Reactivated departments[edit]

  • Tennis 1910
  • Handball 1926
İstanbul Championship: Winner(8) 1945 to 1955[citation needed]
Turkish Championship: Winner(2)[citation needed]


Galatasaray played during its first years in different fields, since there were not any stadiums in Istanbul. In 1921, the first stadium, Taksim Stadium opened.[22] Galatasaray played there until 1940. When the historic Taksim Stadium was demolished, Galatasaray decided to build a large, modern stadium. Due to difficulties stemming from World War II, construction was delayed for over two decades. In this period, they played in İnönü Stadium.

On 20 December 1964, Ali Sami Yen Stadium opened.[23] It is named after the founder of the club, Ali Sami Yen. It is in the Mecidiyeköy quarter of the Şişli district at the center of the city. In 1964, the stadium had a capacity of over 35,000. Today, due to improvements in security and prohibition of standing spectators, it has an all-seater capacity of 24,990. The nickname of the stadium is "Hell".[24]

After 2002, when Atatürk Olympic Stadium was built for Istanbul's Olympic Games bid, Galatasaray started to play European Cup matches there. The attendance record for a Turkish stadium was broken there, in a Galatasaray–Olympiacos match played in front of 79,414 spectators. But the Ali Sami Yen Stadium has historic importance for Galatasaray fans although it is smaller and older.[25]

The new Türk Telekom Arena stadium was built for Galatasaray in return for the highly valued land of the historic Ali Sami Yen stadium in Mecidiyekoy, and will be the new home ground for Galatasaray S.K., replacing the old Ali Sami Yen Stadium. The new stadium has a capacity of 52,695 seats.

Since 1998, after every goal scored by Galatasaray, the last part of the song I Will Survive by the Hermes House Band is played. Although the song is in English and already adopted by Dutch football team Feyenoord, the part used has no lyrics except "la la la la". This makes it easy for fans to participate.

In addition, before every game the Florida State Seminoles' War chant is played accompanied by what the fans call a "scarf show", where fans display and wave their Galatasaray scarves.[26]

Other facilities[edit]

An exterior view of the Nevzat Özgörkey Equestrian Facilities of Galatasaray S.K.
An interior view of the Nevzat Özgörkey Equestrian Facilities of Galatasaray S.K.

Club officials[edit]

Board of Directors
Office Name
President Dursun Özbek
Deputy President Abdurrahim Albayrak
Vice President Dursun Aydın Özbek
Vice President Mehmet İpekdokuyan
Board secretary İsmail Sarıkaya
Treasurer Mete İkiz
From-to Names
1905–1918 Ali Sami Yen
1990–1996 Alp Yalman
1996–2001 Faruk Süren
2001–2002 Mehmet Cansun
2002–2008 Özhan Canaydın
2008–2011 Adnan Polat
2011–2014 Ünal Aysal
2014–2015 Duygun Yarsuvat
2015– Dursun Özbek

Other businesses[edit]

Galatasaray AŞ owns a chain of shops (total 28), Galatasaray Store, selling club merchandise in Turkey, Azerbaijan, Netherlands, Germany, and Northern Cyprus.[citation needed]The club also owns an online betting company, an insurance company, an Internet service provider company, a travel agency, a forex company, and a search engine company.[citation needed]



  • Birand, M. A., & Polat, M. M. (2006). Passion that continues for 100 years. İstanbul: D Yapım. OCLC 164788939
  • Turagay, U., Özgün, G., Gökçin, B., Ahunbay (2006). 17 May: The story of a championship. İstanbul: D Yapım. OCLC 169899400
  • Hasol, D. (2004). Dreams/realities in Galatasaray. İstanbul: Yapı Yayın. ISBN 975-8599-44-5
  • Tuncay, B. (2003). Galatasaray with European Success and Notable Players. Yapı Kredi Kü̈ltü̈r Sanat Yayıncılık. ISBN 978-975-08-0427-4
  • Yamak, O. (2001). Galatasaray: Story of 95 years. Sinerji. OCLC 59287768
  • Çakır, A. (1995). 90 questions about history of Galatasaray SK. Cağaloğlu, İstanbul: Demir Ajans Yayınları. OCLC 42434622
  • Tekil, S. (1986). History of Galatasaray, 1905–1985. Galatasaray Spor Kulübü. OCLC 25025508
  • Tekil, S. (1983). Galatasaray 1905–1982: Memories. Arset Matbaacılık Koll. Şti. OCLC 62614035
  • İsfendiyar, F. (1952). History of Galatasaray. İstanbul: [Doğan Kardeş yayınları]. OCLC 27753643

External links[edit]