Cameras zoom in on hooligans

Greece’s privacy watchdog gave the go-ahead yesterday for some 500 CCTV cameras to be installed at top-flight soccer and basketball grounds to curb fan violence, which has become a blight on both sports in recent weeks. The Hellenic Data Protection Authority (APPD) also said it would allow tickets to be issued through an electronic system which will also print the name of the person buying the ticket. Sports Minister Giorgos Orfanos heralded the measures last summer as a way to tackle violence at sports arenas, but Greece’s strict privacy laws meant that the implementation of the new security system was delayed. Authorities will install 496 cameras at all 16 Super League soccer grounds as well as at the stadiums of Kallithea, Levadiakos and Akratitos. Cameras will also go into the basketball stadiums used by Panathinaikos, AEK, Olympiakos, Aris and PAOK. «The Sports Ministry wants to put and end to violence at grounds so that mothers, fathers and children can return to the stands,» said Orfanos. The minister admitted that the cameras and ticketing system would not be fully functioning until the start of the new season in August. The cost of installing the new systems will be covered by state funds. «We will be able to use the cameras to single out those involved in violence, as their names will be on the tickets,» said Orfanos who visited the Olympic Stadium yesterday. The stadium will host the UEFA Champion’s League final on May 23. Orfanos said he is happy with the security at the stadium. Greek authorities are hoping that European club soccer’s biggest game, with a global television audience of almost 1 billion people, will go off without the fan violence that has plagued the domestic game.

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