Kathimerini Greece Newsroom
Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, in statements on Wednesday, announced that the associations of organized team supporters will close and only one official association will remain open for each team and operate at each football club’s headquarters. Mitsotakis was speaking after the conclusion of a broad meeting at the Maximos Mansion with the participation of UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin, ministers and the owners of the soccer clubs Olympiakos, Panathinaikos, AEK and PAOK.
“The fan clubs will close. Every team will have only one, housed at the team’s headquarters,” clarified Mitsotakis. He also announced that the entrance through the stadium gates used by organized fans will now come under the jurisdiction of the police, who will be empowered to carry out checks at the gates when it’s deemed necessary.
The premier expressed hope that the Greek state will not be forced to activate the ultimate measure, which will be the temporary exclusion of Greek teams from the European soccer club competitions, noting that soccer team owners had an obligation to first and foremost protect their investments.
On the murder of 29-year-old Michalis Katsouris before a scheduled game between AEK and Dinamo Zagreb in Athens (which was subsequently postponed), he appeared certain that the perpetrators will be found and punished.
He also admitted the Greek police’s operational failure in permitting the organized arrival in Athens of the Croatian hooligans who started the violent incidents outside AEK’s stadium in Nea Philadelphia.
On his part, UEFA President Aleksandar Ceferin, in his statements, expressed his certainty that such incidents of club supporter violence which resulted in the death of Michalis Katsouris in Nea Philadelphia will not happen again. “I have spoken many times with the Greek prime minister, openly and with self-criticism, and we know what we must do,” Ceferin said and called fan violence “the cancer of football”.
“These people are not supporters. They use football for their ideas,” he noted and promised that “we will do more to address this phenomenon.” [AMNA]