As a sanction for violence at a pre-season friendly, males over the age of 12 were banned from Fenerbahçe’s match with Manisaspor. After initially declaring that the game would be played behind closed doors, as is the usual penalty for fan shenanigans, the Turkish FA decided on the novel “women and children” approach.
As man over the age of 12, I would have been unable to attend the match, but I have to say that this game looks like it was a lot of fun. Missing much of the tension and edge male-dominated crowds tend to have, the atmosphere at the 1-1 draw was much more about a pure love of the sport and the team. If and when another team comes under scrutiny for violence among its supporters, banning men from the game has suddenly become a viable alternative to the closed-doors match.
And let’s say this: there are very few places in the world that would attract 41,000 women and children for match. The passion for Fenerbahçe runs deep. Well done.