23-24 September, 2011
An amazing and heart-warming event took place in Istanbul last Tuesday night. A football match (between the Turkish clubs Fenerbahce and Manisaspor) took place in front of a capacity crowd of 41,000 – all women and children under 12, including babes in arms. The Turkish football governing body has changed its rules, so that when a club is punished for violent behaviour by its fans, it must play some future games not in an empty stadium (as is the case with many foreign leagues), but in a stadium in which male spectators are banned. Apparently there was a joyful atmosphere, with the women spectators dressed in the club colurs and singing all the songs and chants, and no violence or even bad language. There was a big crowd of anxious boyfriends, husbands and other male relatives waiting outside for the game to end.