NEWS

Greek, FYROM soccer fans in Melbourne riot

MELBOURNE (AFP) – A brawl between ethnic Greek and Slav-Macedonian soccer fans brought Balkan tensions half a world away to Australia and forced the cancellation yesterday of an annual police charity tournament here. The riot erupted late Sunday at the final of the charity event between South Melbourne (former Hellas Melbourne), who are backed by the city’s Greek community, and the Preston Lions, whose fans are largely immigrants from the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. Police sponsoring the tournament found themselves instead having to intervene in a fight between about 200 fans after the Preston team, 3-0 down, was hit with two penalty calls and saw the score slip to 5-0. One man was arrested, and the game was called off. Yesterday, the Victoria Police Blue Ribbon Foundation, which had organized the charity event since 1989, said it would not hold another one.