Greek soccer fan dies after violent pre-Athens match clashes

greek-soccer-fan-dies-after-violent-pre-athens-match-clashes
Greek soccer fan dies after violent pre-Athens match clashes

A 29-year old man died on Tuesday after being seriously injured in violent clashes between fans of the AEK Athens and Dinamo Zagreb soccer clubs before a scheduled match in Athens, Greek police said on Tuesday. The man, an AEK fan, was stabbed several times during the clashes outside AEK’s football pitch in Nea Philadelphia late on Monday, a police official said.

According to police, 100 to 120 Dinamo Zagreb fans arrived late on Monday near the stadium where AEK fans had gathered. Clashes erupted over an hour after the visiting team’s training session had ended and the team had left the stadium. Both sets of fans were throwing flares, makeshift explosives, and stones, resulting in injuries to three Greek and five Croatian fans. The injured individuals are currently receiving treatment, and 98 people have been arrested for their involvement in the violence, the police official added.

Greek soccer has long been plagued by violence, both on and off the pitch, despite repeated promises from authorities to address the issue. Last year, a 19-year-old soccer fan named Alkis Kampanos was beaten and fatally stabbed outside the Aris Thessaloniki club stadium in the northern city of Thessaloniki. These fights between football fans are unfortunately common, even with heavy fines in place.

Dinamo Zagreb has condemned the incident, stating on their website that such events are not in line with the values and ethics they promote as a club and community. As a result of the violence, the UEFA Champions League qualifying-round match between AEK and Dinamo Zagreb, which was scheduled to take place at AEK’s stadium on Tuesday, has been postponed. UEFA stated that the conditions for the match were not met and emphasized that violence has no place in the sport. They expect those responsible for the act to be arrested and brought to justice promptly. UEFA has been in contact with both clubs to determine a new date for the rescheduled match, either on August 18 or 19.

Greek citizen protection minister Giannis Oikonomou expressed his belief that the state needs to intensify efforts to curb sports violence. He deemed it “unacceptable” that the police failed to prevent the incident and announced that seven police officers will be dismissed from their posts as a result.

The article was reported by Angeliki Koutantou and edited by Christian Radnedge and Bernadette Baum. The Thomson RushHourDaily Trust Principles apply.

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