İstanbul’s three leading football teams Beşiktaş, Fenerbahçe and Galatasaray receive fanatical support – match times remain one of the few occasions when the city streets fall silent – and dominate the Turkish league. While there are sporadic outbreaks of football violence, the chances of a foreigner getting caught up in it are slim. There are two Turkish daily newspapers, Fotomaç and Fanatik, devoted almost entirely to the three İstanbul heavyweights, while matches (Aug–May) are staggered over each weekend in season so television coverage of the three doesn’t clash.

Beşiktaş

(t0212 236 7202, wwww.bjk.com.tr) play at the most convenient and attractive ground of the three, Inönü Stadium on Kadırgalar Cad, between Taksim and Beşiktaş, opposite the Dolmabahçe Palace; walk down the hill, or take bus #23/B from Taksim Square or #30 from Sultanahmet or Eminönü.

Fenerbahçe,

the wealthiest club (t0216 449 5667, wwww.fenerbahce.org), play at the 52,000-capacity Şükrü Saracoğlu Stadyium on Bağdat Cad in Kızıltoprak on the Asian side of the Bosphorus; take a ferry to Kadıköy, then a dolmuş marked “Cadde Bostan”.

Galatasaray

(t 0212 251 5707, wwww.galatasaray.org.com) play at the Türkcell Arena Stadyumu in Aslantepe (Şişli); catchthe M2 metro from Taksim to Sanayı then the branch line to Seyrentepe.

Tickets

are sold at the stadiums two days before a match. Regular fixtures cost from TL25. Tickets are also available online from Biletix (wwww.biletix.com) and Biletix outlets. For information in English see wwww.budgetairlinefootball.co.uk.

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