Şükrü Saracoğlu Stadium

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Ülker Stadium
Şükrü Saracoğlu Stadium
Former names Silahtar Ağa Sahası
Papazın Çayırı
Union Club Field
İttihat Spor Field
Fenerbahçe Stadyumu
Location Kadıköy, Istanbul
Coordinates 40°59′15.7″N 29°02′13.3″E / 40.987694°N 29.037028°E / 40.987694; 29.037028Coordinates: 40°59′15.7″N 29°02′13.3″E / 40.987694°N 29.037028°E / 40.987694; 29.037028
Public transit Metrobus (Istanbul) Söğütlüçeşme
Owner Fenerbahçe S.K.
Operator Fenerbahçe S.K.
Executive suites 64[1]
Capacity 47,834 (all-seater)[2]
Surface Hybrid grass [3]
Opened 1908
Renovated 1929–1932, 1965–1982, 1999–2006
Construction cost $85 million
($103 million in 2017 dollars[4])[5]
Architect Zehra Aksu, Adnan Aksu
Fenerbahçe S.K.

The Şükrü Saracoğlu Stadium (Turkish pronunciation: [ˈʃycɾy saɾaˈdʒoːɫu]), also officially known as Ülker Stadium Fenerbahçe Şükrü Saracoğlu Sports Complex or simply Ülker Stadium due to sponsorship reasons, is a football stadium in the Kadıköy district of Istanbul, Turkey. It is the traditional home venue of major Turkish multi-sport club Fenerbahçe SK, the stadium was inaugurated in 1908 and renovated between 1929 and 1932, 1965 and 1982, and 1999 and 2006. On October 4, 2006, after numerous inspections by UEFA, Fenerbahçe Şükrü Saracoğlu Stadium was selected to host the 2009 UEFA Cup Final[6] that went down to history as the last Final of the UEFA Cup football tournament, which was replaced by the UEFA Europa League starting from the 2009–10 season.[7][8]

The stadium has gone through a complete rebuilding process which involved each stand being demolished and rebuilt in turn, each stand has been built closer to the pitch, getting the fans closer to the action on the field. This style of the stadium has never previously existed in Turkey, as the stands are usually separated from the pitch by a running track.

The Maraton stand can hold up to 14,500 supporters, the stand includes boxes which are rented out from the club on a yearly basis. These boxes are fully equipped with TV screens, the Internet, working and meeting areas, dining facilities, and many other luxuries; as the first and most luxurious of their kind in Turkey. Facing the Maraton stand, at the opposite side, is the Fenerium stand (named after the official chain of Fenerbahçe merchandise stores) with an all-seated capacity of 15,000 and the luxurious 1907 zone. There are also equally luxurious boxes and lodges here. Apart from the boxes section of this stand, every single seat has an LCD monitor behind the chair, for every supporter to follow the game from the live coverage and catch the replays. Including the two remaining stands behind the goal areas, which are the Migros and Telsim stands (named after the sponsors of each construction projects), which both have a seating capacity of 10,500, the total official capacity of the stadium is 47,834.[9]


Before Fenerbahçe Şükrü Saracoğlu Stadium was built, the field was known as Papazın Çayırı (The field of the priest), the field, however, became the very first football pitch of Turkey, where the first league games of the Istanbul Football League were all held consecutively. In 1908, the local teams in the league needed a regular football field, so this land was leased from the Ottoman Sultan Abdul Hamid II for 30 Ottoman gold pounds a year, the total construction cost was 3,000 Ottoman gold pounds. The name was changed to the Union Club Field after the club which made the highest donation for construction of the ground.

The Union Club Field was used by many teams in İstanbul, including the owner, Union Club (which changed its name to İttihatspor after World War I), Fenerbahçe, Galatasaray, and Beşiktaş. However, it lost its importance when a bigger venue, the Taksim Stadium, was built in 1922, inside the courtyard of the historic Taksim Topçu Kışlası (Taksim Artillery Barracks), which was located at the present-day Taksim Gezi Parkı (Taksim Park).

İttihatspor (which had close relations with the political İttihat ve Terakki), was forced to sell it to the state, in which Şükrü Saracoğlu was a member of the CHP government. Thus, the ownership of the stadium passed to the state, but the field was immediately leased to Fenerbahçe. Later, on May 27, 1933, Fenerbahçe purchased the stadium from the government when Şükrü Saracoğlu was the President of Fenerbahçe, for either the symbolic amount of 1 TL[10] or the worth of the stadium which was 9,000 TL.[11]

The name of the field was changed to Fenerbahçe Stadium, and this made Fenerbahçe SK the first football club in Turkey to own their stadium, with the help of the Şükrü Saracoğlu government; in the following years, Fenerbahçe SK renovated the stadium and increased its seating capacity. By the year 1949, Fenerbahçe Stadium was the largest football venue in Turkey, with a seating capacity of 25,000.

The name of the stadium was changed once more in 1998, becoming Fenerbahçe Şükrü Saracoğlu Stadium, named after Fenerbahçe's legendary chairman and Turkey's 5th Prime Minister Şükrü Saracoğlu; in 1999, the latest round of renovations and capacity increasing projects started. The stands on the four sides of the stadium were torn down one at a time, as the Turkish Super League seasons progressed, and the entire renewal and construction project was finalised in 2006, as a result of the immense efforts of Fenerbahçe president Aziz Yıldırım and the team's board of directors.

Şükrü Saracoğlu Stadium in 2014


External links[edit]

Preceded by
City of Manchester Stadium
Final Venue

Succeeded by
HSH Nordbank Arena