When the Union des Associations Europeennes de Football’s (UEFA) fair play rules come into effect in 2014, Turkey’s Trabzonspor club may be among the few that will be financially self-sufficient. The UEFA’s new rules are designed to ensure that no clubs have an unfair advantage over another due to wealthy owners who can afford to woo the best players with obscene contracts.
Instead, each club will be required to raise their own funds in a more ethical manner. Trabzonspor’s response to these new restrictions and Turkey’s overall energy and fiscal challenges is a government-approved 28 MW hydroelectricity plant planned for Trabzon, Northeastern Turkey.
The hydroelectric plant is expected to cost $50 million to build and generate $10 million annually, which is significantly more than the club can raise selling tickets and t-shirts.
The chairman of Trabzonspor, Sadri Sener, told the Financial Times that the club needs a guaranteed source of income, and that the conditions for hydro power are ideal in the mountainous coastal city, which typically receives plenty of rain. Sener is a construction magnate.
While the ink is still drying on the government approval of this first hydro plant, plans to build a second plant are already being considered.
Meanwhile, experts claim that Turkey’s diminishing success in football is directly related to its declining fiscal health. This in turn, according to our correspondent Julia, is largely attributed to the country’s dependence on oil and gas. So a shift to a more renewable energy portfolio (whether or not hydroelectricity is genuinely renewable is subject to fierce debate) is definitely long overdue.
The Financial Times reports that Turkey’s energy production needs to increase by 45% in the next decade in order to meet the country’s growing energy demand, which is expected to top out at 80,000 MW annually within the next eight years.
So, depending on your view, Trabzonspor’s new hydroelectric plant is either a boon or a travesty. But what if clubs start building solar plants in order to increase their bottom line..? That could get interesting.