OPINION

Hitting where it hurts

…The comments made by government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos on Monday – about how to re-establish soccer as a «safe sport» – may sound crazy but are certainly justified. The way things are now, you may set off for a match for the joy of the game but end up in hospital or at a police station. And it is not only the managers of the soccer clubs who are responsible – if not for provoking the incidents, then at least for encouraging the hordes of fanatical supporters. Some of the blame must also fall upon the state for its failure to tackle a situation that has existed for years. In this way, the state proves that it fears the political cost of taking decisive action against the soccer clubs and their powerful owners, but also against masses of soccer fans (and their votes). Other countries, such as Britain, have tackled similar problems decisively, implementing such strict measures that both the clubs and fans automatically lost interest in hooliganism… The same lesson needs to be learnt here in Greece. One method would be to oblige the «Ôffending» teams to play 10 games in a row to empty stadiums so that they can feel the punishment where it hurts, in reduced revenues. Alternatively, they could have points deducted from matches if their fans misbehave, or, in very serious cases, could be disqualified from a championship. Let us see how long such measures would take to make them start caring about sportsmanship…