Atatürk Olimpiyat Stadi
|1,000 (VIP seats)|
|1,400 (Bussiness class seats)|
|Clubs||Fatih Karagümrük SK|
|Inauguration||31/07/2002 (Galatasaray - Olympiakos)|
|Record attendance||79,414 (Galatasaray - Olympiakos, 31/07/2002)|
|Cost||TRY 130 million|
|Design||Michel Macary, Aymeric Zublena|
|Address||Ziyagökalp Mh., 34306 Istanbul/Istanbul Province, Turkey|
Atatürk Olimpiyat Stadi – stadium description
Plans to build a large Olympic-sized stadium came along with Istanbul’s aspirations to host the IOC tournament. In 1994 the municipality selected a 586-hectare plot in north-western district of Başakşehir.
Istanbul failed to win the 2000 Olympics bidding procedure, but construction began in 1999 anyway, with famous French architects Macary and Zublena on the job. Shortly before delivering this project they designed Stade de France in Paris and Istanbul required something iconic as well, also with 80,000 seats, except with a lot smaller budget.
The new stadium was cost-effective thanks to entire lower tier being sunken into the ground, only seeing west and east stands rise up. Partial cover (48,500 seats covered) is particularly distinctive in the west part, where the vast roof is supported by two pylons.
It’s important in terms of symbolism as a cross-section of the roof resembles the bridges over Bosporus, while an aerial view shows the crescent shape of the roof, a key symbol for both Turkey and Islam overall.
Construction ended in 2002 with just TRY 130 million on the price tag, but along with the huge size and modest cost came criticism in the following years, mostly due to the lower tier being very flat and distant from the pitch (25-40 meters from first row), making sightlines very poor for football.
First game ever was played on July 31 2002 with Galatasaray and Greek Olympiacos meeting for a friendly. It was more than a regular fixture as Turkey and Greece launched a joint bid to hold Euro 2008 together despite history of antagonism between them.
The stadium packed to capacity, but it is estimated that further 20,000 people or more weren’t able to get inside. Not only for insufficient space, but also because of access routes unable to cope with the traffic. After that capacity was restricted to 50,000 until proper transport infrastructure was delivered.
Apart from being the home of national football team, the stadium serves as backup ground for major Istanbul teams. Galatasaray played here in 2003-2004, Besiktas also used it when their stadium was under reconstruction, while a rather obscure municipal club IBB played host from 2007 until their own stadium was built in 2014. Domestic finals and exhibition derbies were also held here.
First major international fixture won for the stadium in bidding was the memorable 2005 Champions League final between Liverpool and AC Milan. It earned Istanbul and Turkey credibility, but apparently not enough to win more bids. Overall Istanbul failed 5 times applying for the Olympics, last time in 2020, while bids to host Euro 2016 and 2020 also didn’t succeed. Turkey are still hopeful to get the Euro 2020 final to Istanbul as the stadium is awaiting expansion and retractable roof to be competitive.
UEFA: Official announcement of EURO 2028 and EURO 2032 hosts
UEFA has officially announced that the UK and Ireland will host the European Football Championships in 2028, while Italy and Turkey will co-host the event in 2032.
Turkey: Battle for the title at the giant stadium between City and Inter
After outstanding performances both on the pitches and in the stands of the stadiums where the semi-finals were played, the finalists for the 2022/23 Champions League season have been announced. Whether Pep Guardiola's side win the desired trophy or Inter win it after years away, we are in for an epic match in a place where the impossible has already happened.
Turkey: Meet the arena of the 2023 Champions League final!
This year's Champions League season is over. However, it is worth taking a look at where the final of next year's edition will be held. This time the best players in the world will come to Turkey, a country that Liverpool FC has good memories of...
Champions League final: Not Atatürk, not Wembley, it’s Porto’s game
Despite UEFA’s primary claim of doing it for fans, the final is being moved in the interest of sponsors. Portugal was selected as the best option after London, which refused to waive quarantine for commercial partners.
Champions League: Can (and should) the final be moved to England?
After both finalists proved to be English, calls immediately began to move the game from Istanbul to London. But it only became official after the UK placed Turkey on their ‘red list’ of travel destinations two days later.
COVID-19 crisis: European football rescheduled
Euro 2020 is no more, get ready for Euro 2021. International games and cup finals also have a new schedule in effort to allow domestic competitions to conclude this summer.
Istanbul: Atatürk nearly ready for Champions League final
By the end of this week work should be complete on upgrades of the national stadium in Istanbul. Turkey's largest football venue just got slightly smaller but the biggest issue remains distance from the field.
Turkey: Standing legalised across all leagues
After years of the all-seater rule, Turkey has moved towards a more open approach. Following legal changes from 2019 and early 2020 stadia can now function also without individual seats in some areas.
UEFA: Atatürk's last cup final?
15 years after the sensational 2005 Champions League final, Istanbul's national stadium will host the event once more. And possibly for the last time, if reconstruction plans proceed as expected.
Turkey: Passolig to stay, even if limited
In the second verdict regarding supporters’ application against the Passolig card system Ankara’s consumer court had a less positive decision for fans than they expected.
Turkey: Supporters win against Passolig!
Neither Italian, nor Polish fans enjoyed similar success in their fight against fan ID cards. But in Turkey this week the Supreme Court ruled that the Passolig system is not legal and should be waived.
10+ Ranking 2015: Attendances in Europe (Part 2. The Clubs)
Borussia, Barca and Man United – lovely dominant trio. But it wasn’t them who gained most fans last season. Check all 217 clubs that draw an average crowd of 10,000+!
Istanbul: “Turkish Wembley” a chance for Atatürk Olympiat?
It failed as an Olympic giant and serves nearly only for football. Now the most controversial stadium in Turkey may expect a sharp turn and be converted into football-specific “Turkish Wembley”.
Turkey: Fans not letting go, stadiums still empty
TV cameras aren’t showing the stands too much anymore, because there’s nothing to show. Stadiums are half-empty at best, while supporters took their case to the Supreme Court.
Turkey: Empty stadiums, fans in court
Beşiktaş drew only about 2,000 people to the country’s largest stadium. Galatasaray witnessed a 9,000 turnout. Numbers sound worse in smaller clubs. Meanwhile fans challenge the new fan ID cards in court.
10+ Ranking: Here are the best European clubs by attendance
There are 229 clubs in Europe enjoying on average 10,000 spectators and more. We list all of them to show the Continent’s most magnetic teams. Some fanbases really deserve praise for their participation, right Rangers/Portsmouth?
Turkey: Court suspends controversial fan cards
Italian or Polish football fans never heard this kind of good news, but in Turkey things seem more positive. The 16th Court of Ankara ruled to suspend Passolig, the system forcing each supporter to provide sensitive data to get inside any stadium within two top leagues.
Turkey: Supporters protest new fan cards
Just like the Italian “Tessera del Tifoso”, new Turkish Passolig card causes huge controversies. Fans across the country boycott games and take into the streets.
New: Iraqi concept and construction, plus Turkish updates
Some news for those following our recent database updates. New renderings and construction photos of Al Anbar Stadium in Iraq are now available, as well as fresh/refreshed presentations of three Turkish stadia.
Euro 2020: Confirmed candidates list
Despite UEFA approving bids of up to two stadia per country, most national federations across Europe only expressed interest to host Euro 2020 at one stadium. Here's the list of all confirmed bids.