Police brace for terror threats, fan clashes ahead of UEFA Conference League final in Athens

Police brace for terror threats, fan clashes ahead of UEFA Conference League final in Athens

Citizen Protection Minister Michalis Chysochoidis hosted a meeting at the Hellenic Police (ELAS) headquarters on Monday to discuss security measures ahead of the UEFA Conference League final in Athens between home side Olympiacos and Italy’s Fiorentina on May 29.

The meeting comes after high-ranking Greek law enforcement officers visited Belgium last week for the game between Brugge and Fiorentina where they held talks with UEFA executives on the matter.

Greece is concerned about potential terrorist threats from Islamic State, which is why authorities will ask for Europol’s assistance and will be in contact with foreign counterparts to identify potential extremists. 

Furthermore, it was decided to beef up security at the stadium as well as at the hotels where the teams and UEFA executives are going to be staying ahead of the final. There is also going to be heightened police presence in key commercial areas around the Greek capital.

Hooligans are another point of concern for the police, particularly since some 9,000 Olympiacos fans are expected to attend the final, which will be hosted at the OPAP Arena, the home stadium of their local rival AEK. ELAS plans to designate special routes to the stadium for the fans to follow in order to prevent clashes between Olympiacos and AEK hooligans.

Although the exact number of police officers that will be on duty for the event has not been announced yet, drones, helicopters and special bomb disposal units are expected to be deployed.

The discussions between all sides are ongoing, with more details regarding the security measures to be announced soon.

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