Greek sport suspended
All team sports matches in Greece are suspended for 15 days after fan violence.
Last Modified: 30 Mar 2007 20:02 GMT

The Panathinaikos and Olympiakos clubs have a history of crowd violence in Greek sport [EPA]

Greece suspended all team sports matches for 15 days on Friday after a fan was stabbed to death during clashes involving rival hooligans before a women's volleyball match between the country's biggest clubs Olympiakos and Panathinaikos in an eastern Athens suburb on Thursday.
One fan was stabbed and run over by a car, at least six people were injured, one critically, and police made 13 arrests following the 20-minute battle, with Theodore Roussopoulos, government spokesman, announcing the decision after a cabinet meeting chaired by the prime minister the following day.

"Violence at stadiums concerns society as a whole," Roussopoulos said.

"All (controlling) bodies must act with determination and with the support of the state to wipe out this sad phenomenon."

Greece's Football Federation said it would abide by the government's decision.

"We announce the suspension of all football championship games of all professional and amateur leagues until Friday, April 13," it said in a statement.

Bystanders were among those injured, as well as several minor soccer league players on their way to training whose team logo and colours resembled those of Panathinaikos.

Police have said they were not aware of the fans' gathering in the suburb of Peania and the public order minister expressed his sadness over the incidents.

History of violence

Olympiakos and Panathinaikos have teams competing in many sports including football, basketball, volleyball, water polo, with clashes among supporters of the two teams dating back decades.

The most recent death of a spectator in Greece, in 1995, was after clashes between Olympiakos and Panathinaikos fans during a basketball match.

Greece, whose national football team are European champions, overhauled the premier league this season by handing control to professional managers instead of club officials in an effort to halt falling ticket sales, accusations of match-fixing and bad refereeing, as well as regular clashes between fans.

"It is time that all of us in football come together and once and for all eradicate violence from sports," Greek Superleague chief Petros Kokalis told Reuters.

"The Superleague would like to express its condolences to the family of the victim," he added.

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