NEWS

Police compile ‘black list’ of hooligans

Police compile ‘black list’ of hooligans

As the dark side of sports-related violence came to the fore again last week in the most tragic way with the murder of 19-year-old Alkis Kambanos in Thessaloniki, northern Greece, the Hellenic Police has launched a sweeping crackdown across the country, with reports saying it has compiled a list of 300 hooligans in Attica alone that it has its eye on. 

These 300 hardcore fans of the capital’s biggest teams have already been questioned over a period between September until now for various activities, with 150 of them arrested for participating in sports-related incidents, the possession of weapons and other crimes.

A police source told Kathimerini that 30% are minors, “and the rest are between 20 and 30 years old.”

Police also note that extremist elements are active among these groups. For instance, a social media account maintained by a nationalist organization has a photo published against the backdrop of Panathinaikos’ Gate 13, in which hooded men hold banners reading: “There is only one solution to Turkish provocations, reaching the borders of Asia Minor – Solidarity with the Army.”

In another supporters’ account, a caption under a photo of AEK hooligans waving Molotov cocktails and wearing gas masks reads: “AEK, violence, terrorism.”

Although last week’s murder may have shocked Greek society, experts monitoring sports-related hooliganism on and off the field say it came as no surprise. “We have been seeing a qualitative leap in the activities of hooligans with the use of knives lately,” a senior ranking Attica police officer said in comments to Kathimerini, noting a series of incidents during the last three months.

On November 24, for example, on the sidelines of a Panathinaikos women’s volleyball match against Czech Ostrava in Maroussi, police arrested some 57 fans of the Athens club who were in possession of knives, screwdrivers, small axes, corkscrews, hammers and other items that could cause physical harm.

On January 15, on the sidelines of an Apollon-Aris soccer match, 87 fans of the host team were brought in and 15 of them were arrested. They were also found to be carrying small axes, knives, screwdrivers, Molotov cocktails, bats, helmets, etc.

“They turn up to fight with fans of rival groups and then post photos on their social media accounts, mainly on Instagram,” said a police source.