SPORTS

Hooligans fail to demonstrate Christmas spirit

By George Georgakopoulos

Violence struck the Greek Cup this week as one game was abandoned after a chair hit an assistant referee and another was stopped for a few minutes after fans of a team not involved in the game invaded the pitch and attacked the referee.

The round-of-32 match between Ethnikos Asteras and PAOK was halted on December 21 as fans of the Kaisariani club hurled a chair at the assistant referee in the 13th minute, forcing the referee to stop the match for good.

As a result, PAOK will be awarded the game (3-0) and advance to the last 16, while Ethnikos Asteras will have up to three points deducted from the second-division table and be made to play one or two home games behind closed doors in the league.

A day earlier, on December 20 the match between third-division Pontioi Katerinis and the Super League's Xanthi (0-2) was stopped for a few minutes just before full-time after around 30 Panathinaikos fans stormed the pitch to attack referee Dimitris Kalopoulos.

Kalopoulos had been the official who refereed the controversial derby between Olympiakos and Panathinaikos (2-1) last year, and had been banned since then. He was also linked to last summer?s match-fixing scandal. Kalopoulos was suddenly reinstated last month and the December 20 match was the first he had officiated since his the end of his ban.

Police arrested 18 of the fans who, according to reports, were passing through Katerini on their way home from the match between Agrotikos Asteras and Panathinaikos (0-1) that had taken place earlier in the day in Thessaloniki.

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