Very gradual moves

In 2005, soccer star and AEK President Demis Nikolaidis took a major chance and turned over to police photographs of the ringleaders of incidents at a match with Atromitos, but never received any response. A year later, he was astonished to hear Greek Police (ELAS) Chief Anastassios Dimoschakis ask him for the names of those responsible for the excesses. «I keep giving you names, but you don’t do anything,» was Nikolaidis’s reply. «So don’t talk to us about arrests. Before the Ajax-Eindhoven match, Dutch police arrested 880 people.» Nikolaidis is determined to do something about soccer violence, since the sport is now at the mercy of hooliganism and crimes continue to be committed in the stands, to the embarrassment of both authorities and the teams. At a board meeting a few days after his team’s match in Livadia that saw 13 police officers injured, the AEK president revealed what steps he planned to take, released photographs of perpetrators and lodged lawsuits. The supporters, through their delegate Dimitris Hadzichristou, agreed with the measures. Interviewed a few days before the Paeania attack, Nikolaidis appeared undeterred. «The law has changed and steps are being taken, but very slowly. Certainly I would like a unified policy on the part of the entire soccer world against violence. That is the only way to wipe it out.»

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