Gençlerbirligi Spor Külübü
Gençlerbirliği SK was founded by a group of students from the Ankara High School in 1923, the same year the Turkish Republic was founded. Having been established and located in the new capital, the club leveraged universities in Ankara and attracted talented footballers coming to town for university education.
This academic background and student-player profiles from top universities led to the future representation of Gençlerbirliği ex-players in a wide range of Turkey’s state institutions. Three Turkish Football Federation presidents had been Gençlerbirliği players in their past. In its early years, Gençlerbirliği appeared in the Ankara football scene as the only club that is not part of the state or military and shows a heavy emphasis on education. In more recent years, Gençlerbirliği has been one of the most notable teams in Turkey for developing talented young footballers.
Gençlerbirliği won a total of 10 championships in the Ankara League, before the formation of the National Turkish League in 1959. Additionally, the team brought the Turkey Championship to Ankara twice (in 1941 and 1946). After professionalisation and forming a National League, Gençlerbirliği’s student-player foundation eroded. The team competed in the top division for 12 more seasons until relegation to the second division in 1970. Further relegation came in 1979 to the third division.
In 1981 Ilhan Cavcav was elected as club president, and Gençlerbirliği started to rise again. The team moved up to the first division in 1983. With a high focus on player development and infrastructure, the club became an important node in Turkish football. Since then, Gençlerbirliği has been a credible challenger in the league. Young players, developed in Gençlerbirliği have been playing regularly in the National Team and several other Turkish/European teams. Currently, the team plays in the 1.Lig, Turkey’s second-tier league.
During their almost century of history, Gençlerbirligi played 47 seasons at the highest level, finishing third twice in 1966 and 2003. The club reached to final of the Turkish Cup five times, taking this important piece of silverware home twice, in 1987 and in 2001. Gençlerbirliği’s most successful Europe record was in 2004 when they reached to 4th round of the UEFA Cup.
With a fanbase still linked to universities, the club will use and involve this intellectual capital to develop its CSR philosophy and strategy, and thus have a long-lasting impact on society in and around Ankara. Apart from that, Gençlerbirligi is also working on a Women’s Football Program, to establish a structure that trains top-level athletes in Turkish women’s football, while providing a safe football environment for girls in Ankara.