The 2015/16 season isn't treating Galatasaray very well thus far. The Turkish football club occupy the reigning champion position for the Turkish Super Lig. However, the Yellow-Reds are trailing significantly behind both Fenerbahce and Besiktas in the domestic league and have struggled so far to play at their usual levels of consistency. They even sacked their manager, Hamza Hamzao?lu, back in November, replacing him with Mustafa Denizli. So far, the shift has had little effect-clearly not the soccer club's intent.

Now, though, the Yellow-Reds are facing their biggest obstacle of the current campaign: potential sanctions for violating Financial Fair Play criteria. On Monday, January 18th, UEFA announced that Galatasaray had failed to comply with the financial rules for the 2015/16 season. The case has now been referred to the CFCB (Club Financial Control Body), who will decide the action that should be taken to punish Galatasaray for breaking the rules. Supposedly, that decision should be returned by the end of February.

Potential Sanctions

Agreed upon in 2009 and implemented in 2011, the UEFA's Financial Fair Play regulations were established in order to ensure long-term success and survival of European soccer clubs. Financial Fair Play bars clubs from spending more money than they earn over the course of several seasons. While it may seem like these regulations stifle competition by allowing only the richest football clubs to sign the best players, they are actually intended to save clubs from investments they can't afford-thereby avoiding debt, bankruptcy, and insolvency.

When clubs violate the UEFA's Financial Fair Play rules, there are a number of potential sanctions that they can face. These punishments include fines, withheld prize money, transfer bans, and more. The most severe punishment is a ban from UEFA competitions like the Europa League or the Champions League.

So far, the UEFA has mostly stuck with fines in punishing football clubs for failing to break even. However, there is a possibility that Galatasaray could face a harsher punishment this time around because they have already been sanctioned before.

Indeed, the Yellow-Reds were previously sanctioned in 2014 for failing to meet Financial Fair Play regulations. In their settlement with the UEFA, Galatasaray were fined €200,000 and required to become "break-even compliantÂ… at the latest in the monitoring period 2015/16." Now that the soccer club has failed to meet that requirement, they could face a moratorium on transfers for 2016 or a ban from UEFA competitions. It's unclear whether or not a second fine could be on the way for the reigning Turkish champions.

The Effect for Galatasaray

Where would these sanctions leave Galatasaray? Well, it's tough to believe that they would help the soccer club get much closer to breaking even.

The Yellow-Reds have been somewhat busy in the transfer market as of late. In the summer, they spent €2.5 million for Arsenal's Lukas Podolski-a player who has proved to be the club's top scorer for the 2015/16 campaign. Just this month, they spent another €2.5 million to sign defensive midfielder Ryan Donk. The goal is clearly to flesh out the squad with stronger players, to close the distance that currently stretches between Galatasaray and Fenerbahce/Besiktas on the Super Lig standings table.

However, thanks to big sales like Felipe Melo (€3.7 million) and Nordin Amrabat (€3.5 million), Galatasaray have earned more in the transfer market this season than they've spent. Perhaps that fact will help the Yellow-Reds avoid a transfer ban, but we'll have to wait and see.

Right now, more pundits are predicting a UEFA ban for Galatasaray. The Yellow-Reds participated in the UEFA Champions League this past fall but bowed out after the group stage. They are currently drawn to face off against Italy's Lazio in the Europa League's round of 32. Last season also saw Galatasaray failing to get beyond the group stage in the Champions League, but the team has actually done well in the tournament recently, reaching the quarterfinals in 2013 and the round of 16 in 2014. A UEFA ban would certainly hurt the soccer club's pedigree as a top-tier organization.

Do you think Galatasaray deserves a transfer ban or a UEFA tournament exclusion? Or are the UEFA's Financial Fair Play rules a bundle of bureaucratic nonsense? Share your thoughts with Soccer Box on one of our social media profiles. You can find us today on Facebook, Pinterest, and Tumblr as well as other popular social platforms.