Giving supporters free tickets is part of the problem

«Unfortunately, this tragic outcome with the loss of a human life was only to be expected, as macabre as that might sound,» said Giorgos Vassilakopoulos, head of International Basketball Federation (FIBA) Europe. «Those who have been watching the increase in violence at Greek soccer stadiums have realized that the situation has worsened.» Four years ago, along with the management of the Greek Basketball Federation, a decision was made to abolish the Greek Cup’s Final Four tournament as the event had become a field day for violent incidents by organized supporters who had formed gangs for the sole purpose of settling accounts. Now a member of a Sports Ministry committee drafting a new bill, Vassilakopoulos suggests doing away with the teams’ popular practice of distributing free tickets. «Unless we put a stop to the practice of handing out free tickets to supporters’ clubs, this ongoing crime at Greek stadiums will not cease,» he says. «These gangs are completely tolerated by the teams and now are not controlled by anyone.» The apathy on the part of all relevant authorities makes him very angry. «This situation had its beginnings several years ago but has lately become much more acute. The police bear part of the responsibility because they often do not enforce the law,» he added. «However, what is worse is that the teams want to cooperate with a bunch of hooligans who continue to misbehave in the knowledge that they will not be punished as well as having the protection of certain officials.»

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