23 September 2011
The Turkish Football Federation has started an unusual experiment. They plan to allow only women and children to attend matches played by teams which have been punished for bad behaviour. In an Istanbul stadium where the top Turkish team, Fenerbahce, played, the atmosphere has changed.
Click to hear the report:
Turkish football fans are famed for their raucous passion, and the Turkish Football Federation punishes violent behaviour by making the team play without an audience.
But from this week they have moderated that rule, to allow women and children to watch sanctioned matches.
Last night the first such game, at the stadium of the top team Fenerbahce, was attended by an unexpectedly large crowd of 41,000 women and children.
The players said they approved of the changed atmosphere, where, instead of the usual war-like chanting, there were flowers and applause for both teams.
The Federation changed its rules because it's expecting more crowd trouble this season, following the exposure of a big match-fixing scandal.
Turkish television companies, which rely heavily on football for revenue, were worried they would lose subscribers if too many games were played in empty stadiums.
Jonathan Head, BBC News
Click to hear the vocabulary:
- are famed for
are well-known for
loud and unpleasant
- violent behaviour
hostile or aggressive actions
made less extreme
- war-like chanting
aggressive sounding singing
- match-fixing scandal
illegal action in which the result of a competition is decided before it is played
- rely heavily on
depend a lot on
income, amount of money received
people who pay for a regular service