12/11 06:37 CST In latest crackdown on violence, Greece bans fans at all
top-flight matches for two months
In latest crackdown on violence, Greece bans fans at all top-flight matches for
By DEREK GATOPOULOS
ATHENS, Greece (AP) --- All top-flight soccer matches in Greece will be played
without fans in the stadiums for the next two months, in the latest crackdown
on supporter violence following a sport-related riot last week that left a
police officer with life-threatening injuries.
The government said Monday that it would introduce emergency legislation to
make the ban on supporters effective immediately. It will end on Feb. 12 with a
possible extension to follow.
This past weekend's professional soccer matches were postponed following a
series of violent incidents at matches and last week's riot that occurred
outside a volleyball game believed to be led by organized soccer fan groups.
The 31-year-old police officer who was injured in the clashes remains
hospitalized in a coma after being hit in the left leg by a flare, causing
extensive bleeding and cardiac arrest.
"This murderous attack against a policeman is not the first incident of extreme
fan violence in recent years. Criminals in the guise of sports fans are
committing serious offenses, seriously injuring and killing people," government
spokesman Pavlos Marinakis told reporters.
He said all 14 clubs competing in the top-flight Super League will have to
install surveillance cameras inside stadiums and use personalized ticketing
systems that require the holder to show identification upon entry before being
allowed to admit supporters.
The security systems, including a network of high-resolution surveillance
cameras inside stadiums, would have to adhere to standards set by soccer's
governing body in Europe, UEFA, Marinakis said.
An 18-year-old man has been arrested and taken into police custody in
connection with the police officer's injury to face charges of attempted
murder. The man, who has not been identified, appeared at an arraignment
hearing Monday after being escorted to court in handcuffs by police. He was
given until Thursday to prepare his defense.
Violence has plagued Greek soccer for decades despite repeated efforts to crack
down on the supporters' associations blamed for the attacks, mostly outside
Olympiakos, under new Portuguese head coach Carlos Carvalhal, will face
Serbia's Backa Topola in the Europa League at home Thursday without fans as a
result of the decision.
But Greek clubs Panathinaikos and PAOK will conclude their European matches
with fans. Panathinaikos hosts Maccabi Haifa in Athens Thursday in the Europa
League and PAOK hosts HJK Helsinki in the Conference League also on Thursday in
AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer