NEWS

New bid to stop sports hooligans

Admitting that legislation on fighting spectator violence at sports events has proved unenforceable, the government yesterday promised to sharpen the sword of the law. «We believe that the question of violence has reached an extremely crucial point,» Public Order Minister Giorgos Voulgarakis told journalists following a meeting with Deputy Minister for Sport Giorgos Orfanos. «This cannot go on.» Voulgarakis argued that most of the sanctions mentioned in the law are never implemented. «If the penalties are not enforced, the law is just meaningless, wishful thinking.» He said Orfanos would be discussing the matter with soccer and basketball clubs and federations, with the aim of tabling a series of proposed reforms in Parliament by mid-July. Fan violence, once confined to soccer matches, has spread in recent years to basketball and even volleyball and water polo games. Orfanos said violence was keeping ordinary spectators away. «In 15 years, we have lost over 100,000 spectators who used to attend matches. We want them back.»