More than 41,000 women and children filled Sukru Saracoglu Stadium to watch Fenerbahce play against Manisapor in a Turkish League soccer match in Istanbul, Turkey, on Tuesday, September 20. Turkey came up with a radical solution for tackling crowd violence at football matches: ban the men and let only women and children in.
Women And Children Only May Watch Soccer Games
Under new rules approved by Turkey’s football association, only women and children under the age of 12 will be admitted to watch games, for free, involving teams which have been sanctioned for unruly behavior by their fans. Fenerbahce was ordered to play two home matches without any spectators after its fans invaded the pitch during a friendly match against Ukrainian champion Shakhtar Donetsk.
The football world hadn’t seen anything quite like it before.
On Tuesday night the Turkish giants of Fenerbahce took on Manisaspor in Istanbul in what should have been an empty stadium.
Instead as many as 43,000 women and children took advantage of free tickets to fill the stands with songs, banners and passion every bit as intense as their male compatriots.
Never Happened Before In Turkish Soccer
“This atmosphere was one of the kind and historic in the sense of Turkish football as well as international football,” Fenerbahce’s vice-president Ali Koc told CNN’s Pedro Pinto.
Tuesday night’s match was going to be another night of shame for Turkish football, until the TFF allowed children under 12 and an accompanying adult to attend 24 hours before kick off. By the next morning thousands of women in Fenerbahce shirts lined up for tickets and images were beamed across the globe of what was surely the highest female attendance at a men’s match in world football. It was a good news story for Fenerbahce just when Turkish football needed it.
“We’re disappointed we couldn’t send the ladies home with a victory.”
You can watch the beginnings of the Polymbicas:
Photo credit: Blog Gallery
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