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No men allowed, but 41,000 still attend soccer game in Turkey

September 20, 2011 |  2:18 pm

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Turkey's soccer association is trying something new in an effort to prevent violence at soccer games involving teams sanctioned for unruly fan behavior -- ban men and give free tickets to women and children under 12.

On Tuesday, Fenerbahce gave out free tickets -- to women and children only -- for its game against Manisapor in Istanbul. Long lines formed around Sukru Saracoglu stadium, with some women carrying babies in team colors, and more than 41,000 tickets were given away.

"This really is a historic day," Yasemin Mercil, a female member of Fenerbahce's executive board, said before the game. "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."

The experiment seems to have been a success. Players tossed flowers at the fans before the game, and the visiting team received applause, according to the Anatolia news agency.

“This memory will stay with me forever," Fenerbahce captain Alex de Sousa said. "It's not always that you see so many women and children in one game."

Manisaspor midfielder Omer Aysan added: "It was such a fun and pleasant atmosphere."

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Photo: More than 41,000 women and children filled Sukru Saracoglu Stadium in Istanbul to watch Fenerbahce play against Manisapor in a Turkish League soccer match Tuesday. Credit: Turkpix / Associated Press

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