New Galatasaray stadium in doubt

ISTANBUL - The future of Galatasaray's $200-million new stadium appeared in doubt after Turkish construction officials said on Thursday they had sacked contractors for failing to meet conditions. The 52,000-seat stadium on the outskirts of Istanbul was due to be completed in October but only a quarter of the work had been done, officials said. "The tender contract has had to be cancelled... At this point our office is working to finish the project in a proper manner and considering the possibility of a new tender," Turkish construction authority TOKI said in a statement. The Istanbul club, UEFA Cup champions in 2000 and 17 times domestic champions, finished a disappointing fifth in the league last season, ten points adrift of bitter rivals Besiktas. Last month former Barcelona coach Frank Rijkaard signed a surprise two-year deal with Galatasaray, as the club seeks to revive its fortunes. Turkish media reports say the initial builders -- a Turkish developer and two United Arab Emirates-based firms -- had been hit by funding difficulties due to the global credit crisis. TOKI's statement said wages had not been paid and the necessary workers, materials and equipment had not been supplied.