Player's study earns Besiktas deal

Player's study earns Besiktas deal

Turkish footballer Umut Nayir is studying for a law degree – and his legal research helped him free up a move to Besiktas.

The 25-year-old striker hopes his story - part of the “Mind the Gap’’ campaign - will encourage more players to prepare for a new career outside football.

Ankara-based club Osmanlispor blocked Nayir’s transfer to Super Lig clubs even after it was relegated to the second division at the end of last season.

“The money they had wanted for me was so much more than the market price,” Nayir said.

But the University of Ankara student reviewed case law from similar cases and consulted sports lawyers, and found there was a way out.

Because he was three years into his contract he was no longer in the so-called “protected period” under FIFA rules, and could end his Osmanlispor contract without the risk of a disciplinary sanction.

Besiktas and other clubs wanting to sign him could make a deal with Osmanlispor or wait for an arbitration court to decide on the amount of compensation.

Acting on this information, Nayir announced via social media last July he was leaving Osmanlispor.

“Of course I knew I was taking a risk,” Nayir said. “If no club was willing to take the risk on this extraordinary transfer situation I was probably going to be out of action.”

But he was pleased to have taken some control of his destiny.

With his case heading to the Turkish federation arbitration panel, Besiktas and Osmanlispor agreed to a 300,000 euro transfer fee – far less than Osmanlispor initially asked.

The law student’s educated decision had paid off.

This season, Nayir is back in the Super Lig and scoring again – he has four goals in 11 games since being loaned by Besiktas to Bursaspor.

One consequence of Nayir’s decision to leave Osmanlispor is he is further from the University of Ankara. Bursaspor is based 200 miles away and Nayir usually cannot attend lectures because of his training and match schedule.

“It makes things difficult because I must study on my own,” Nayir said.

But he does not regret his decision to persist with his law books, with a view to becoming a sports lawyer when he stops playing.

“Studying makes me more aware of what is happening in life away from the football pitch,” Nayir said.

He encourages his teammates to explore careers outside football.

“When they tell me they wish they hadn’t dropped out of school, I say it’s not too late to start again.”

Picture (top): Umut Nayir greets Besiktas coach Senol Gunes last September shortly after being loaned to Bursaspor; he was an unused substitute in the match between the teams. Credit: VI Images.