NEWS

Demand for full-time whistle on soccer thugs

As Aris Thessaloniki soccer club prepared to face a sports tribunal today over the fan violence that led to the suspension of a league game against local rivals Iraklis on Sunday, the government underlined yesterday that it was determined to stamp out similar incidents at Greek grounds. «Our aim is to stop acts of violence, which have in the past blackened the name of Greek soccer. We want all the family to be able to watch a game,» said Deputy Culture Minister Giorgos Orfanos, who holds the sports portfolio. Aris has been hauled in front of a tribunal by the Association of Professional Football Clubs (EPAE) on charges that its fans injured two policemen in the buildup to the game, threw tear gas into the changing-room area used by Iraklis and invaded the pitch four times, injuring two Iraklis players. A court gave four Aris fans 18-month suspended jail sentences on Monday for their part in the incidents.