New row breaks out over soccer stadium plans

The municipal council in the northern Athens suburb of Nea Philadelphia-Nea Halkidona voted on Wednesday to give Mayor Aris Vassilopoulos the go-ahead to take all the legal steps necessary to protect the local park, which is partly threatened by plans for AEK soccer club to build a new stadium in the area.

The decision was taken during another stormy meeting of the council, which was disrupted by a group of people claiming to be AEK supporters. Police were called in to restore order after chairs were thrown at councillors.

Six councillors were injured in a similar incident on December 23. Vassilopoulos claims there is an attempt to intimidate councillors against objecting to the construction of the stadium in Nea Philadelphia, where AEK had its home ground until 2003. The club has condemned the attacks.

AEK unveiled plans in October 2013 to build a 33,000-seat state-of-the-art stadium on the site of the old ground. But the plans mean that part of Nea Philadelphia park will have to be given over for the construction of the new stadium.