Fenerbahce were ordered to play two matches behind closed doors after fans stormed the pitch during a friendly against Shakhtar Donetsk. But instead of forcing the team and their opponents to play in the emotionless void of an empty stadium, the Turkish FA amended the rules to avoid this and to show the troublemakers what they were missing out on by allowing only women and children under 12 to attend matches played by teams sanctioned for fan violence.
The novel idea was put into practice for Fenerbahce's match on Tuesday and it already seems to be a success.
From the AP:
On Tuesday, Fenerbahce handed out free tickets and more than 41,000 women and children attended the game against Manisaspor in Istanbul. Women formed long lines around Sukru Saracoglu stadium, some carrying babies in the team's colors, for an opportunity to watch the club.
Before the game, Fenerbahce and Manisaspor players tossed flowers at the fans. The visiting team was greeted with applause, instead of the usual jeering, the Anatolia news agency reported.
"This really is a historic day," said Yasemin Mercil, a female member of Fenerbahce's executive board 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."
So the grown men who either engage in violence at matches or do nothing to stop their friends from doing so are forced to sit at home and watch a brilliant atmosphere that they can't be a part of. It seems like this could be a viable way to curb violent tendencies. Then again, it could also spawn a terrifying new order of ruthless baby hooligans that will unleash unspeakable horrors on the game.