Turkish League - Süper Lig
Süper Lig is a Turkish professional league for association football (soccer). It is the top football league in Turkey and sponsored by Spor Toto.
The Süper Lig runs from August to May and each of the eighteen clubs play a total of 34 matches. The matches are played Friday through Monday. At the end of the season, a champion is crowned, three clubs are promoted and three clubs are relegated from the league. As of 2011, a total of 66 clubs have competed in Süper Lig but only five have ever been crowned champions: Fenerbahçe, Galatasaray, Beşiktaş, Trabzonspor and Bursaspor.
The most important domestic competitions for Süper Lig are the Turkish Cup and the Turkish Super Cup. Süper Lig is a member of the UEFA (Union of European Football Associations) and competes in UEFA Champions League.
The history of Süper Lig
Football (soccer) was brought to Turkey in the late 1800s by Englishmen living in Thessaloniki. The early predecessor to Süper Lig was the Istanbul Football League that premiered in 1904-1905. This league went through several modifications until Milli Lig was created in 1958. Milli Lig was the first national league for Turkey; up until the leagues had been centered around cities such as Ankara, Istanbul and Kayseri.
The top clubs from Ankara, Instanbul and Izmir competed in the inaugural 1959 Milli Lig, after completing the qualifying stages in 1958. These clubs were Adalet, Beşiktaş, Beykoz, Fatih Karagümrük, Fenerbahçe, Galatasaray, Istanbulspor and Vefa from Istanbul; Ankaragücü, Ankara Demirspor, Gençlerbirliği and Hacettepe from Ankara; and Altay, Göztepe, İzmirspor and Karşıyaka from İzmir. The winner of the very first season was Istanbul's Fenerbahçe.
Milli Lig became known as 1.Lig (First League) in the early 1960s when the 2.Lig (Second League) was formed. After a new second division was established in 2001, 1.Lig changed name once again and this time to Süper Lig.
Competition format for Süper Lig
As mentioned above, there is room for 18 clubs in Süper Lig and each club plays 34 matches during the August to May season. Each club meet the other 17 clubs twice during a season, a competition format known as double round robin. One meeting will be at the club's home stadium and one will be away.
A win is worth three points, a draw is worth one point and a loss is worth zero points. The champion is the team with the most points at the end of the season. The three teams with the lowest amount of points will be relegated down to 1.Lig, while the top two teams from 1.Lig is lifted up into Süper Lig. The 1.Lig winner of play-offs involving the third to sixth placed 1.Lig teams will also be promoted to Süper Lig.
If two or more teams have the same amount of points at the end of the season, those teams are ranked by head-to-head record, then goal difference, then goals scored.
Qualifications for European football competitions
The Süper Lig Champion qualifies for the group stage of the Champions League.
The Runner-up qualifies for the third qualifying round of the Champions League.
Third place qualifies for the third qualifying round of the Europa League.
Fourth place qualifies for the second qualifying round of the Europa League.
The winner of the Turkish Cup qualifies for the play-off round of the Europa League. If the winner of the Turkish Cup has already qualified for European competition via Süper Lig, the runner-up takes the spot in the play-off round of the Europa League. If the runner-up has also qualified already, the next highest placed club in Süper Lig gets the spot.