Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Turkey swaps football hooligans with women and kids

Women and children at the Şükrü Saracoğlu Stadium in Istanbul (Image from
Women and children at the Şükrü Saracoğlu Stadium in Istanbul (Image from

The Turkish football officials have come up with an original solution for tackling violence at stadiums, banning men and allowing only women and children to watch from the stands.
­The new rules apply only to the teams which are sanctioned for unruly behavior by their supporters.

Moreover, women and kids under 12 years old are to get tickets for those games for free.

Istanbul side Fenerbahce, who were ordered to play two home matches without spectators after their supporters invaded the pitch during a match against Ukrainian champs Shakhtar Donetsk, tried out the new rules first.

Forty-one thousand women and children packed the stadium and greeted the visiting Manisaspor players with applause, instead of the usual booing.

“This really is a historic day,'' female member of Fenerbahce's executive board Yasemin Mercil told AP news agency before the kickoff. “For the first time in the world, only women and children will watch a game. The women know all the chants. The same anthems, the same chants will be sung.''

Mercil was correct in her forecast – Fenerbahce had truly great and loud support, but the local footballers still seemed to be lacking their male fans, as they could only master a 1-1 draw on the night.