SPORTS

Balloons replace fans in Panathinaikos protest

TAGS: Soccer

Panathinaikos on Wednesday found a novel way to protest against the partial closing of part of its stadium for the rest of the season due to November's derby crowd trouble.

The Greek giant placed hundreds of green and white balloons where fans would have been seated for the Greek Cup match with Atromitos, which finished goalless.

Last week Greek Deputy Sports Minister Stavros Kontonis told the club to shut Gates 13 and 14 used by hardcore fans.

Panathinaikos found itself in the dock after trouble forced the November 21 derby with Olympiakos to be called off before kick-off.

It was fined an additional 90,000 euros on top of a previous fine of 190,000 euros, deducted three points and forced to play four home games behind closed doors.

Match referee Andreas Pappas called off the high-risk clash after fans clashed with police both inside and outside the stadium.

Police said 14 arrests were made and that three officers were injured, one seriously.

Fans threw rocks and other debris at police, who responded with tear gas. Flares were thrown at Olympiakos players when they appeared for their warm-up on the pitch.

Olympiakos vice-president Savvas Theodoridis said flares struck Olympiakos forward Alfred Finnbogason, "burning" the Iceland international's hand, and Serbian midfielder Luka Milivojevic.

[Reuters]

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