?ükrü Saraco?lu Stadium

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?ükrü Saraco?lu Stadium (Template:IPA-tr), is a football stadium in the Kad?köy district of Istanbul, Turkey, and is the home venue of Fenerbahçe S.K. It was inaugurated in 1908 and renovated between 1999 and 2006. On October 4, 2006, after numerous inspections by UEFA, Fenerbahçe ?ükrü Saraco?lu Stadium was selected to host the 2009 UEFA Cup Final 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 2009–2010 season.<ref name="bbc_europa">Template:Cite news</ref><ref name="uefa_europa">Template:Cite web Template:Dead link</ref>

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 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" (or Lodges) which are rented out from the club on a yearly basis. These boxes are fully equipped with TV screens, 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, namely the "Migros" and "Telsim" stands (named after the sponsors of each tribune's construction projects), which both have a seating capacity of 10,500, the total official capacity of the stadium is 50,509.<ref name="TFF Stadium Statistics">TFF Stadium Statistics</ref>


Before Fenerbahçe ?ükrü Saraco?lu Stadium was built, the field was known as Papaz?n Çay?r? (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 soccer field, so this land was leased from the Ottoman Sultan Abdülhamid 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.Template:Citation needed

The Union Club Field was used by many teams in ?stanbul, including the owner, Union Club (which changed its name to ?ttihatspor after World War I), Fenerbahçe, Galatasaray and Be?ikta?. However, it lost its importance when a bigger venue, the Taksim Stadium, was built in 1922, inside the courtyard of the historic Taksim Topçu K??las? (Taksim Artillery Barracks), which was located at the present-day Taksim Gezi Park? (Taksim Park).Template:Citation needed

?ttihatspor (which had close relations with the political ?ttihat ve Terakki), was forced to sell it to the state, in which ?ükrü Saraco?lu 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 ?ükrü Saraco?lu was the President of Fenerbahçe, for either the symbolic amount of 1 TL or the worth of the stadium which was 9000 TL.

The name of the field was changed to Fenerbahçe Stadium, and this made Fenerbahçe SK the first football club in Turkey to own its stadium, with the help of the ?ükrü Saraco?lu government.Template:Citation needed 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.Template:Citation needed

The name of the stadium was changed once more in 1998, becoming Fenerbahçe ?ükrü Saraco?lu Stadium, named after Fenerbahçe's legendary chairman and Turkey's 6th Prime Minister ?ükrü Saraco?lu. 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 the Fenerbahçe president Aziz Y?ld?r?m and the team's board of directors.Template:Citation needed



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