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Developing football in Turkey

Turkey's progress down the years provides a heartening example for the rest of European football, with the Turkish Football Federation constantly striving to develop and nurture the game and its popularity.

 Burak Yılmaz before EURO 2020
Burak Yılmaz before EURO 2020 UEFA via Getty Images


Source: UEFA Grassroots study (2019)

The Turkish Football Federation (TFF) has an aim to reach its highest point by 2023 – the centenary of the country.

Specifically, the TFF want to ensure they are a best-in-class performer in the technology field, giving football fans new opportunities on their digital platforms and continuing to upgrade its sponsorship model. The federation has been working closely with the country's clubs, with all parties acknowledging the need to develop and ensure sustainability.

UEFA support

UEFA funding, through its HatTrick development programme, has helped take Turkish football forward at a variety of levels. The development of the national teams centre is a special achievement.

Riva ‘Hasan Doğan’ national teams training centre and education facilities

The Riva complex acted as the main venue for the 2017 UEFA Regions' Cup finals
The Riva complex acted as the main venue for the 2017 UEFA Regions' Cup finals©TFF

The Riva national training centre was an ageing facility, situated 25km from Istanbul and requiring renovation and rehabilitation work that started in 2008 with HatTrick I funding. The TFF decided to review the project and rebuild the entire centre and extend it with an additional construction area – meaning that the national teams would be hosted in one area offering them accommodation and training facilities.

The Turkish FF also moved the offices of the national teams’ management and football development division to centralise all technical activities in one place. This centre includes the following facilities:

  • Four full-size pitches (three with natural grass and one with a hybrid system), a half-size natural grass pitch for goalkeepers training, two mini-pitches, with floodlights;
  • Rehabilitation and accommodation facilities: swimming and therapy pools, Turkish bath, sauna, massage and treatment rooms, fitness room, 85 rooms and 2 suites;
  • Recreational areas including tennis courts, a mini-golf pitch, artificial lake, walking and running tracks;
  • Office space, conference and meeting halls.

Riva ‘Hasan Doğan’ national teams training Centre – extension of the facilities

The Riva national training centre is a very modern facility which was officially inaugurated in 2014. It is now fully operational and already hosts all the TFF technical and development divisions. With this project, the TFF has been able to extend the current facilities, in line with its vision of bringing all its operations into a single centre. This project involves the construction of a new facility including the following features:

  • Office building divided into three floors, press centre, offices for TFF departments, meeting rooms and praying room
  • Hotel section: 82 rooms, 20 of them accessible for people with disabilities
  • Conference area: conference room with a total capacity of 700 people and 10 meeting rooms
  • Restaurant area, including a kitchen to serve the conference area and hotel
  • Fitness area: sauna, therapy pools, dressing rooms, therapy and treatment rooms
  • Natural surface grass field of 60m x 90m (outside the campus)

UEFA Foundation for Children in Turkey

Set up in 2015, the UEFA foundation uses football as a vehicle to help improve children’s lives by supporting hundreds of campaigns and projects across Europe and around the world.

Living Together

Turkey has taken important steps to integrate more than 3.6 million Syrian refugees. However, the youth population – which represents at least half of that number – presents special challenges that have received insufficient attention. Syrian youth displaced to Turkey face enormous difficulties. Too many are not in school. Most are coping with anger, trauma and loss.

Promoting peaceful relations between Turkish and Syrian youngsters is a valuable investment for the future of both communities. The project’s overall goal is to use football as a tool for building peaceful coexistence, as well as:

  • Providing vulnerable Turkish and Syrian children with increased regular access to sports facilities and creatinge opportunities to interact in a more meaningful way;
  • Promoting life skills for children and teenagers, including leadership, conflict resolution, teamwork and communication;
  • Promoting positive life outcomes for participating children, including increased educational attainment, enhanced social cohesion, prevention of crime and radicalisation;
  • Empowering youngsters to make them role models and engaged citizens.


Association history

1875: The first recorded match between Englishmen in Salonika in 1875 when the Greek city belonged to the Ottoman Empire.
Turn of the 20th century: The first Turkish side – Black Stockings – is formed to play friendlies.
1904: The Istanbul Football League is formed.
1923: The Turkish Football Federation (TFF) is founded and joins FIFA.
1924: Inaugural Turkish national championship.
1951: Professionalism is introduced in Turkish football.
1959: Introduction of a nationwide professional league.
1962: The TFF joins UEFA.
1988: Turkey's national assembly grants full autonomy to the TFF.
1993: Turkey hosts the UEFA European Under-16 Championship finals.
1994: The first Turkish women’s league kicks off.
2000: Galatasaray win the UEFA Cup and UEFA Super Cup.
2005: Istanbul hosts the memorable UEFA Champions League final between Liverpool and AC Milan.
2005: European Under-17 title glory for Turkey’s boys.
2008: The men’s UEFA European Under-17 Champion finals are held in Turkey.
2009: The UEFA Cup final is played in Istanbul, with Shakhtar Donetsk beating Werder Bremen.
2014: A new national team centre is inaugurated.

Turkey's qualification for EURO 2020 included a win against world champions France
Turkey's qualification for EURO 2020 included a win against world champions France©UEFA.com

National team competitions

1923: Turkey’s national team makes their debut in a 2-2 draw with Romania in Istanbul.
1924: The first of several Turkish appearances in the Olympic football tournament.
1949: Turkey’s national team play their first FIFA World Cup qualifying competition.
1950: Turkey qualify for the finals in Brazil, but are forced to withdraw.
1951: Professional football is introduced.
1954: Finally, the Turkish team make their World Cup finals debut in Switzerland.
1992: Turkey win the European Under-18 title.
1994: The Under-16 team follows up by clinching the European crown.
1996: Coach Fatih Terim leads the national team to the EURO finals in England.
2000: Turkey reach the UEFA EURO 2000 quarter-finals.
2002: A superb run in the World Cup finals in Japan/Korea ends with a third-place ranking.
2008: The EURO in Austria/Switzerland brings a run to the semi-finals.
2016: Another EURO appearance in France.
2019: Turkey qualify for UEFA EURO 2020.

Nihat Özdemir
Nihat Özdemir©TFF


Nihat Özdemir

Nationality: Turkish
Date of birth: 5 April 1950
Association president since: 2019  

Kadir Kardaş
Kadir Kardaş©TFF

General secretary

Kadir Kardaş

Nationality: Turkish
Date of birth: 11 November 1971
Association general secretary since: 2014

Turkish Football Federation website