Law on fan clubs ready for change

A new law governing the operation of 270 supporters’ clubs around Greece will be unveiled after Easter, the government said yesterday as a magistrate remanded eight suspected hooligans in custody for last week’s deadly brawl in Paeania. The government has identified supporter associations as being chiefly responsible for Greece’s hooligan problem and, following the suspension of their operation on Tuesday, hopes to prevent the clubs from engaging in any activities until the new law has been passed. «It has been proven that most of these clubs have been sources of violence both inside and outside stadiums,» said government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos after a meeting of a government committee formed to tackle fan violence. Sports Minister Giorgos Orfanos said the measures being taken would cut the «umbilical cord» between soccer clubs and groups of fanatical supporters. However, Orfanos rejected a proposal by Demis Nikolaidis, AEK’s president, that Greek soccer clubs should not participate in any European competitions for the next three years. During the meeting, Public Order Minister Vyron Polydoras suggested that CCTV cameras should be installed both inside and outside grounds to monitor fans. Meanwhile, a magistrate yesterday remanded in custody eight of the 12 people arrested last Thursday when hundreds of Olympiakos and Panathinaikos fans clashed northeast of Athens. The other four fans were released on bail. Police said that they had found the fingerprints of five suspects on weapons recovered from the scene of the brawl. One of these men is already in custody. The other four will be taken in for questioning soon, police said. According to sources, suspects revealed during questioning that the mass brawl had been arranged after Panathinaikos and Olympiakos fans scuffled when the Greek national soccer team played Turkey at the Karaiskaki Stadium – Olympiakos’s home ground – on March 24.

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