Police responds to criticism over deadly soccer fan clash

Police responds to criticism over deadly soccer fan clash

Greece’s police force, ELAS, on Tuesday responded to criticism in the wake of a violent clash between dozens of soccer fans in Athens that resulted in the death of a young man, a week before the capital is set to host the UEFA Super Cup final.

In an announcement saying that “a strong police presence was dispatched to the area to quell the brawl,” ELAS indicated that the brawl between fans of local club Athens and Croatia’s Dinamo Zagreb a day before a UEFA Champions League third-qualifying-round match at the OPAP Arena had been orchestrated by hooligans in both countries.

“In the late hours of yesterday – Monday 7 August 2023 – a group of around 100-120 supporters of Dinamo Zagreb, along with Greek fans-accomplices, went to Perissos, where fans of AEK were assembled in the broader vicinity. Clashes ensued between the two groups, which threw flares, makeshift explosives, projectiles and rocks, and used makeshift clubs,” ELAS said.

Law enforcement authorities have come under criticism for allowing the Dinamo Zagreb fans to assemble near the stadium despite a ban on visitors for Tuesday’s match intended to prevent the kind of incident that occurred on Monday night.

According to reports, the Croatian fans traveled to Greece by bus and were “discreetly” followed by police all the way to Athens, where they split up and made their way to the stadium in cars and on the metro, meeting up with local hooligans along the way.

Police are also being criticized for not stopping the brawl sooner, even though it was obvious that the fans of both sides were up to no good when they started converging at the stadium after the two teams finished practicing.

A 22-year-old AEK fan was stabbed to death in the fight and at least eight people were injured. The match has been canceled.

The incident comes as Greece is set to host the UEFA Super Cup final at the Georgios Karaiskakis Stadium in Neo Faliro on the southern coast of Athens on August 16.

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