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Football: In Greece, after two months behind closed doors, fans can return to the stadium

On Sundays, Dimos (who did not want to be named) usually goes to support his team, AEK Athens. But, after the temporary closure of all football stadiums to the public decided by the Greek government, the young man had to do without this pleasure: “True Victim” which he does not consider justified at all. “In general, the violence happens outside the stadiums. These actions should be punished more severely and those who commit them should be expelled from the stadiums. But in this case, the majority was penalized for the actions of a small minority.”, he believes. Dimos will be able to return to see AEK from Tuesday, February 13, as the two-month closed session imposed by the executive comes to an end.

The Greek government took a radical decision in early December when a 31-year-old policeman died after being seriously injured by hooligans during a volleyball match between Olympiakos and Panathinaikos in Athens. Conditions for the opening of stadiums were requested by the conservative government: football and basketball clubs will be obliged to equip their buildings with surveillance cameras from March 7. And, from April 9, fans will have to identify themselves at the entrance to the sports grounds, using a mobile application created by the Greek government, to attend the match.

If there is violence during the match, the committee will impose heavy fines and oblige the clubs to play the next match without fans.– warned the Deputy Minister of Sports, Yanis Vrutsis. On February 13, St. “Stadiums will open in a new environment with this new Permanent Violence Management Committee imposing draconian sanctions”– warned the minister. Stadiums are opening early for the left-wing opposition party Syriza “Nothing has changed” from December and that the measures taken will be applied only in March and April.

“As if everything suddenly stopped at the stadium”

Violence has plagued Greek sports, particularly football matches, for several years, and successive governments have tried to crack down on it, to no avail. In February 2022, Alkis Kampanos, a 19-year-old Aris Thessaloniki fan, was murdered in Thessaloniki – the country’s second city – by hooligans from a rival club. In August 2023, a 29-year-old AEK Athens supporter was killed in an attack by Croatian and Greek hooligans on the outskirts of the capital. In 2022, the government has already increased the maximum prison sentence for rioters from six months to five years, without reducing violence.

Source: Le Monde

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