Süper Lig

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Süper Lig
Süper Lig logo.svg
Organising bodyTurkish Football Federation (TFF)
Founded21 February 1959; 62 years ago (1959-02-21)
Number of teams20
Level on pyramid1
Relegation toTFF First League
Domestic cup(s)Turkish Cup
Turkish Super Cup
International cup(s)UEFA Champions League
UEFA Europa League
UEFA Europa Conference League
Current championsBeşiktaş (16th title)
Most championshipsGalatasaray (22 titles)
Most appearancesUmut Bulut (515)[1]
Top goalscorerHakan Şükür (249)[2]
TV partnersList of broadcasters
Current: 2021–22 Süper Lig

The Süper Lig (Turkish pronunciation: [ˈsypæɾ liɟ], Super League) is a Turkish professional league for association football clubs. It is the top-flight of the Turkish football league system and is run by the Turkish Football Federation. Twenty clubs compete annually, where a champion is decided and three clubs are promoted and relegated from, and to, the 1. Lig. The season runs from August to May, with each club playing 38 matches. Matches are played Friday through Monday.

The competition was initially established as the Millî Lig (National League) in 1959 - the first professional nationwide league competition held in Turkey.[3] The league succeeded the Turkish Football Championship and the National Division, both being former top-level national competitions. The Süper Lig is currently 13th in the UEFA coefficient ranking of leagues based on club performances in European competitions over the last five years.[citation needed] A total of 73 clubs have competed in the Süper Lig, but only six have won the title to date: Galatasaray (22), Fenerbahçe (19), Beşiktaş (16), Trabzonspor (6), Bursaspor (1) and İstanbul Başakşehir (1).


Football in Turkey stems back to the late 19th century, when Englishmen brought the game with them while living in Salonica (then part of the Ottoman Empire).[4] The first league competition was the Istanbul Football League, which took place in the 1904–05 season. The league went through several variations until the creation of the Millî Lig (Süper Lig) in 1959. Between the creation of the Istanbul League and Millî Lig, several other regional leagues took place: Adana (1924), Ankara (1922), Eskişehir (1924), İzmir (1924), Bursa (1924), and Trabzon (1922), to name a few. The first competition to bring forth a national champion was the former Turkish Football Championship, which began in 1924 and continued until 1951.[5] The championship format was based on a knockout competition, contested between the winners of each of the country's top regional leagues.[6] The National Division (Turkish: Millî Küme) was the first national league competition in Turkey. Started in 1937, the National Division consisted of the strongest clubs from the Ankara, Istanbul, and İzmir leagues. The championship lasted until 1950.[7][8]

The Federation Cup was established in 1956 to decide a national champion. This champion would go on to participate in the European Cup. The competition was held for two seasons until it was replaced by the Millî Lig. Beşiktaş won both editions and qualified for the European Cup during the two-year span. However, since the TFF failed to register their name for the draw in time, Beşiktaş could not participate in the 1957–58 season after all.[9][10]

The top clubs of Ankara, Istanbul, and İzmir competed in the 1959 Turkish National League. The first season took place in the calendar year of 1959, instead of 1958-59, since the qualifying stages took place in 1958. The 16 clubs who competed in the first season were: Adalet (Istanbul), Altay (İzmir), Ankaragücü (Ankara), Ankara Demirspor (Ankara), Beşiktaş (Istanbul), Beykoz (Istanbul), Karagümrük (Istanbul), Fenerbahçe (Istanbul), Galatasaray (Istanbul), Gençlerbirliği (Ankara), Göztepe (İzmir), Hacettepe Gençlik (Ankara), İstanbulspor, İzmirspor, Karşıyaka (İzmir), and Vefa (Istanbul). The first champions were Fenerbahçe and the first "Gol Kralı" (top scorer) was Metin Oktay. No clubs were promoted or relegated at the end of the first season.[11]

The 2. Lig (Second League) was created at the start of the 1963–64 season and the Millî Lig became known as the 1.Lig (First League). Before the foundation of a second division, the bottom three clubs competed with regional league winners in a competition called the Baraj Games. The top three teams of the group were promoted to the Süper Lig. After the foundation of a new second division in 2001, known as the 1. Lig, the formerly titled 1. Lig was rebranded as Süper Lig.[12] The Süper Lig is home of the Fenerbahçe–Galatasaray derby, the most watched football game in Turkey. It is considered to be one of the best and most intense in the world, being ranked among the greatest football rivalries of all-time by various international sources.[13][14][15]

Season naming[edit]

Since 2014-15 season, Turkish Football Federation names seasons in memory of various personalities, mainly football-related. The logos presented for these seasons also feature the portrait of the person the season is named after. This practice also created a curse, in this case the team associated with the person the season is named after showed a bad performance during the season.

The practice is introduced after former president of Beşiktaş JK, Süleyman Seba died in 13 August 2014.[16][17]

  • 2014-15 season is officially named as Süleyman Seba Season. Seba died two weeks before the season started. Galatasaray were champions while Beşiktaş, the team that Seba was president of between 1984 and 2000, finished in third place.
  • 2015-16 season is officially named as Hasan Doğan Season. Hasan Doğan was the president of Turkish Football Federation in 2008 for 143 days before he died in office due to a heart attack. He also was a member of Beşiktaş JK. Beşiktaş finished the season as champions, ending their seven year title drought, making this season an exception.
  • 2016-17 season is officially named as Turgay Şeren Season. Turgay Şeren was the legendary one-club goalkeeper for Galatasaray SK. He died in July 2016, before the season started. Beşiktaş successfully defended their championship while The Lions ended their unimpressive season in fourth place.
  • 2017-18 season is officially named as İlhan Cavcav Season. İlhan Cavcav was the president of Ankaran outfit Gençlerbirliği for 40 years before he died in January 2017. He also was a private supporter of Galatasaray.[18] While Galatasaray finished the season as champions, Red-Blacks finished in 17th place and were immediately relegated to 1. Lig, ending their 29-year top flight stint.
  • 2018-19 season is officially named as Lefter Küçükandonyadis Season. Lefter Küçükandonyadis was the legendary Fenerbahçe and national team striker. Yellow Canaries ended their abysmal season in sixth place, staying in the immediate vicinity of relegation zone for the majority of the season while arch-enemies Galatasaray lifted their 22nd Süper Lig trophy.
  • 2019-20 season is officially named as Cemil Usta Season. Cemil Usta was the one-club leftback for Trabzonspor. Trabzonspor lost the championship battle against Başakşehir and finished the season in second place, extending their title drought since 1984.

Competition format[edit]

Current design of the Süper Lig Trophy, in use since 2015.

There has been 18 clubs in the Süper Lig until 2020. 21 Clubs are competing in the Süper Lig starting from 2020. During the course of the season (from August to May) each club plays the others twice (a double round robin system), once at their home stadium and once at that of their opponents, for a total of 40 games. Teams receive three points for a win and one point for a draw. No points are awarded for a loss. Teams are ranked by total points, then head-to-head record, then goal difference, and then goals scored. At the end of each season, the club with the most points is crowned champion. If points are equal, the head-to-head record and then goal difference determine the winner. The three lowest placed teams are relegated to the 1. Lig and the top two teams from the 1. Lig, together with the winner of play-offs involving the third to sixth placed 1. Lig clubs are promoted in their place.[19]

Qualification for European competitions[edit]

Qualification for European competitions is as follows: champions qualify for the group stage of the Champions League, runners-up qualify for the second qualifying round of the Champions League, third place qualifies for the third qualifying round of the Europa League, and fourth place qualifies for the second qualifying round of the same competition. A fifth spot is given to the winner of the Turkish Cup, who qualify for the play-off round of the Europa League. If the Turkish Cup winner has already qualified for European competition through their league finish, the next highest placed club in the league takes their place.

UEFA ranking[edit]

As of 6 May 2021

Ranking Member association Coefficient
2021 2020 Mvmt 2016–17 2017–18 2018–19 2019–20 2020–21 Total
12 9 -3 -3 Ukraine Ukraine 5.500 8.000 5.600 7.200 6.800 33.100
13 11 -2 -2 Turkey Turkey 9.700 6.800 5.500 5.000 3.100 30.100
14 13 -2 -2 Denmark Denmark 8.500 5.250 4.875 5.125 4.125 27.875


Club Province Position in 2019-20 First season
in top division
Seasons in
top division
First season
of current spell
Top division
Last title
Alanyaspor Antalya 5th 2016–17 5 2016–17
Ankaragücüa Ankara 18th 1959 52 2018–19
Antalyaspor Antalya 9th 1982–83 25 2015–16
Beşiktaşab Istanbul 3rd 1959 63 1959 16 2020-21
Çaykur Rizespor Rize 15th 1979–80 20 2018–19
Denizlispor Denizli 14th 1983–84 21 2019–20
BB Erzurumspor Erzurum 2nd (First League) 2018-19 2 2020-21
Fatih Karagümrüka Istanbul 5th (First League) 1959 6 2020-21
Fenerbahçeab Istanbul 7th 1959 63 1959 19 2013–14
Galatasarayab Istanbul 6th 1959 63 1959 22 2018–19
Gaziantepb Gaziantep 8th 2019–20 2 2019–20
Gençlerbirliğia Ankara 12th 1959 48 2019–20
Göztepea Izmir 11th 1959 29 2017–18
Hatayspor Hatay 1st (First League) 2020-21 1 2020-21
Başakşehir Istanbul 1st 2007–08 13 2019-20 1 2019-20
Kasımpaşa Istanbul 10th 1959–60 17 2012–13
Kayserispor Kayseri 17th 2004–05 21 2015–16
Konyaspor Konya 13th 1988–89 22 2013–14
Sivasspor Sivas 4th 2005–06 15 2017–18
Trabzonsporb Trabzon 2nd 1974–75 47 1974–75 6 1983-84
Yeni Malatyaspor Malatya 16th 2017–18 4 2017–18

a Founding member of the Süper Lig
b Never been relegated from the Süper Lig


In total, fifteen different clubs have won the Turkish championship title, including titles won before the Süper Lig's inception, namely in the former Turkish Football Championship and Turkish National Division,[3] which are denied and not counted by the Turkish Football Federation, even though they were official championships by the TFF itself. Fenerbahçe is the team which has the most national championships, with 28 titles in total.

Only six clubs have been champions since the beginning of the Süper Lig era in 1959: Galatasaray 22 times, Fenerbahçe 19 times, Beşiktaş 16 times (see note below), Trabzonspor 6 times, and Bursaspor and İstanbul Başakşehir once each.

Club Champ­ions[20] Runners-up Winning seasons Runners-up seasons
Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svg
22 13 1961–62, 1962–63, 1968–69, 1970–71, 1971–72, 1972–73, 1986–87, 1987–88, 1992–93, 1993–94, 1996–97, 1997–98, 1998–99, 1999–2000, 2001–02, 2005–06, 2007–08, 2011–12, 2012–13, 2014–15, 2017–18, 2018–19 1956–571, 1957–581, 1959, 1960–61, 1965–66, 1974–75, 1978–79, 1985–86, 1990–91, 2000–01, 2002–03, 2013–14, 2020–21
Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svg
19 22 1959, 1960–61, 1963–64, 1964–65, 1967–68, 1969–70, 1973–74, 1974–75, 1977–78, 1982–83, 1984–85, 1988–89, 1995–96, 2000–01, 2003–04, 2004–05, 2006–07, 2010–11, 2013–14 1959–60, 1961–62, 1966–67, 1970–71, 1972–73, 1975–76, 1976–77, 1979–80, 1983–84, 1989–90, 1991–92, 1993–94, 1997–98, 2001–02, 2005–06, 2007–08, 2009–10, 2011–12, 2012–13, 2014–15, 2015–16, 2017–18
Beşiktaş Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svg 16 14 1956–571, 1957–581, 1959–60, 1965–66, 1966–67, 1981–82, 1985–86, 1989–90, 1990–91, 1991–92, 1994–95, 2002–03, 2008–09, 2015–16, 2016–17, 2020–21 1962–63, 1963–64, 1964–65, 1967–68, 1973–74, 1984–85, 1986–87, 1987–88, 1988–89, 1992–93, 1996–97, 1998–99, 1999–2000, 2006–07
Star full.svg
6 9 1975–76, 1976–77, 1978–79, 1979–80, 1980–81, 1983–84 1977–78, 1981–82, 1982–83, 1994–95, 1995–96, 2003–04, 2004–05, 2010–11, 2019–20
İstanbul Başakşehir 1 2 2019–20 2016–17, 2018–19
Bursaspor 1 2009–10
Eskişehirspor 3 1968–69, 1969–70, 1971–72
Adanaspor 1 1980–81
Sivasspor 1 2008–09

1 Beşiktaş formally requested that championships won in the 1956–57 and 1957–58 editions of the Turkish Federation Cup be counted as Turkish Professional First Division championships to the Turkish Football Federation. The Cup was established in 1956 to find a national champion to represent Turkey, after UEFA decided that only national champions could participate in the European Cup.[3] Beşiktaş had therefore earned the right to represent Turkey in the European Cup in the 1957–58 and 1958–59 seasons.[21] The ruling on this matter was announced in a press release on March 25, 2002 which indicated that the championships won by Beşiktaş in the Federation Cup would be counted as national league championships.

Star rating system[edit]

The honor of Golden Stars was introduced in football to recognize sides that have won multiple championships or other honours by the display of gold stars on their team badges and jerseys. In Turkey, clubs are permitted to place a golden star above their crest for every five national championships won. As of the 2020-21 season Galatasaray are permitted four golden stars, Fenerbahçe and Beşiktaş are permitted three golden stars, and Trabzonspor are permitted one golden star to be placed above their crest on their jerseys.

League participation[edit]

As of 2021, 73 clubs have participated. Note: The tallies below include up to the 2021–22 season. Teams denoted in bold are current participants.

Player records[edit]

  • Bold denotes players still active in the league.
  • All players are Turkish unless otherwise indicated.

Turkish football clubs in UEFA competitions[edit]

European Cup / UEFA Champions League UEFA Cup / Europa League UEFA Cup Winners' Cup UEFA Super Cup UEFA Intertoto Cup
Club Semi-finalist Quarter-finalist Winner Semi-finalist Quarter-finalist Quarter-finalist Winner Winner
Galatasaray 1989 1963, 1970, 1994, 2001, 2013 2000 - - 1992 2000 -
Fenerbahçe - 2008 - 2013 - 1964 - -
Beşiktaş - 1987 - - 2003, 2017 - - -
Bursaspor - - - - - 1975 - -
Göztepe - - - 1969 - 1970 - -
Kayserispor - - - - - - - 2006

‡ Galatasaray was one of the final eight teams of the 1993–94 UEFA Champions League group stage, however, UEFA does not consider this a quarter-final participation.

See also[edit]

References and notes[edit]

  1. ^ "Türkiye Spor Toto Süper Lig". mackolik.com. Retrieved 11 November 2015.
  2. ^ "Hakan Şükür". mackolik.com. Retrieved 11 November 2015.
  3. ^ a b c "Turkey – List of Champions". rsssf.com. Rec.Sport.Soccer Statistics Foundation. 23 May 2019. Archived from the original on 25 May 2019. Retrieved 25 May 2019.
  4. ^ "Before the national Turkish Leagues". turkish-soccer.com. Erdinç Sivritepe. Retrieved 27 May 2018.
  5. ^ "Türkiye Futbol Federasyonu Kuruluyor". tff.org (in Turkish). Turkish Football Federation. Retrieved 26 October 2017. 1936'ya kadar süren bu dönemde ilk Türkiye Şampiyonası Ankara'da yapılmış ve şampiyon Harbiye olmuştur.
  6. ^ "Türkiye Futbol Birinciliği". Erdinç Sivritepe. Retrieved 26 October 2017.
  7. ^ "Türkiye Futbol Federasyonu Kuruluyor". tff.org (in Turkish). Turkish Football Federation. Retrieved 26 October 2017. ...ilk deplasmanlı lig kapsamındaki Milli Küme maçları da yine bu dönemde tertip edilmiştir.
  8. ^ "Milli Küme". Erdinç Sivritepe. Retrieved 26 October 2017.
  9. ^ Sivritepe, Erdinç Federation Cup 56/57 turkish-soccer.com, accessed 22 July 2010
  10. ^ Sivritepe, Erdinç Federation Cup 57/58 turkish-soccer.com, accessed 22 July 2010
  11. ^ Sivritepe, Erdinç 1959 Milli Lig turkish-soccer.com, accessed 22 July 2010
  12. ^ Sivritepe, Erdinç 1963-1964 1. Lig turkish-soccer.com, accessed 22 July 2010
  13. ^ "FourFourTwo's 50 Biggest Derbies in the World, No.6: Fenerbahce vs Galatasaray". fourfourtwo.com. FourFourTwo. Retrieved 11 May 2020.
  14. ^ "The 50 greatest derbies in football throughout the world". givemesport.com. Retrieved 11 May 2020.
  15. ^ "History of the Istanbul Derby - Fenerbahce vs Galatasaray". sportskeeda.com. Retrieved 11 May 2020.
  16. ^ AA. "Efsaneler kulüplerine şans getirmiyor". www.hurriyet.com.tr (in Turkish). Retrieved 2021-07-12.
  17. ^ fanatik. "Sezon isimleri efsanesi olduğu takımlara yaramadı! Cemil Usta,..." Fanatik. Retrieved 2021-07-12.
  18. ^ "İlhan Cavcav, "Gönlümde Galatasaray'ın şampiyonluğu var"". www.sozcu.com.tr (in Turkish). Retrieved 2021-07-12.
  19. ^ Official TFF competition rules Archived 2010-03-31 at the Wayback Machine
  20. ^ "Süper Lig Şampiyonu Takımlar". www.tff.org (in Turkish). Turkish Football Federation. Retrieved 15 February 2018.
  21. ^ "Türkiye Futbol Federasyonu Ana Sayfa TFF". www.tff.org.
  22. ^ played as İstanbul Büyükşehir Belediyespor before 2014-15 season - İstanbul Büyükşehir Belediyespor
  23. ^ Dissolved in 2011 - Zonguldakspor Archived 2011-07-28 at the Wayback Machine
  24. ^ Football branch dissolved in 2011.
  25. ^ Dissolved in 2013
  26. ^ Now Turanspor
  27. ^ Now Keçiörengüçü
  28. ^ Became Van İl Özel İdarespor in 2004 and later closed in 2014
  29. ^ Dissolved in 2011
  30. ^ Alibeyköyspor since 1971
  31. ^ Dissolved in 2010 (TFF)
  32. ^ (Dissolved in 2014) Siirtspor
  33. ^ a b "Türkiye Spor Toto Süper Lig". mackolik.com. Retrieved 11 November 2015.

External links[edit]