New season, old problems

The new soccer season begins this weekend but planned tighter security measures are unlikely to be in place at all the stadiums of teams in Greece’s top division. A police officer who did not want to be named told Kathimerini yesterday that despite pledges by the government earlier this year that CCTV cameras would be installed at all top-division basketball and soccer grounds, only 15 out of 30 top-flight stadiums will have the systems in place for the start of the respective seasons. Authorities had also promised to install an electronic ticketing system so that the clubs and police could have a record of fans entering grounds and information that could lead them to pinpoint suspects if trouble breaks out. The police officer told Kathimerini that not all clubs have the necessary equipment to issue electronic tickets and some are even considering writing details by hand. Plans to issue supporters with «fan cards» that would record the details of each person’s identity card also appear to have stalled, sources told Kathimerini. Security will be stepped up tomorrow when the soccer league’s two biggest rivals, Panathinaikos and Olympiakos, meet at the Apostolos Nikolaidis Stadium in Ambelokipi, central Athens. Fans of champion Olympiakos will be banned from the game but Panathinaikos supporters are planning to display a banner with an image of Michalis Filopoulos, a 22-year-old man killed five months ago during a brawl between hooligans of the two teams. The fans of the home team will be protesting the fact that despite a lengthy investigation, nobody has yet been tried for Filopoulos’s alleged murder. Prosecutors have questioned 28 people, charged seven and remanded two in custody.