Greece suspends fan clubs after violence
4/3/2007 12:46:37 PM
ATHENS, Greece (AP) - All Greek soccer supporters' clubs were suspended Tuesday, and league organizers escaped with a warning after last week's deadly fan violence.
The measures were announced by the government following clashes between fans of Greece's two largest clubs - Panathinaikos and Olympiakos. Thursday's violence left one fan dead and prompted a two-week ban on all professional team sport matches.
"This will remain in effect ... until a new law is approved, and measures allowing surveillance cameras at stadiums and all match-ticket sales to identifiable with individual fans," deputy minister for sport Giorgos Orfanos said.
Those measures are due to take effect next season - a year later than originally planned.
"We have all decided to join the fight against violence in sport. The government is determined to see these measures through," Orfanos said.
League organizers also agreed to stop distributing tickets directly to supporters' clubs and to help authorities shut down fan organizations operating without a license.
Similar restrictions were imposed on basketball and volleyball clubs.
Clubs had been threatened with playing for the rest of the season in empty stadiums unless they complied, local media reports said.
The government imposed the two-week ban on all professional team sports Friday after fans from Panathinaikos and Olympiakos were involved in bloody clashes a day earlier outside a women's volleyball game.
Both clubs have teams in soccer, basketball and other sports, and rival supporters in the past have clashed at various sporting events.
Panathinaikos fan Michalis Filopoulos, 25, died while he was being transported to a hospital after sustaining multiple stab wounds and head injuries from blows with a baseball bat.
Eighteen fans were arrested after the clashes, 12 under blanket felony charges that include murder. The six other suspects were arrested on lesser charges, and five of them have been released pending trial.
League organizers said they agreed with the crackdown on supporters' clubs.
"Everything must change, we're all in agreement on that," PAS Giannina Alexis Kouyias chairman said. "There will be a new legal framework which will not allow for this kind of violent behaviour to develop ... Something must be done to jolt the public."