SPORTS

Super League restarts, but behind closed doors

Deputy Minister for Sports Stavros Kontonis announced on Wednesday the resumption of the Super League this weekend after it was suspended last week following crowd trouble at the Athens derby, except that all games will be played behind closed doors, as the government and soccer authorities are working together to ensure security inside and outside the stadiums.

“Everyone must realize that we are proceeding with seriousness, wisdom and above all determination. Every father must be made sure that when his children go to a soccer game he will not find them at the police station, the hospital or the morgue,” Kontonis stated.

Therefore the 27th round of games scheduled for this Saturday, Sunday and Monday – including the Panathinaikos vs PAOK match – will only be held for TV spectators, while Kontonis noted that the government will decide whether it will extend the measure for the following weekend, too.

“As of tomorrow there will be a roadmap including measures to combat violence, some of which will have to be implemented from tomorrow and others from the new season, as they will require changes to the code of discipline.

“The immediate measures are instant suspension of matches in case of riots, the fines and the points deduction, although these last two require amendments to the disciplinary codes. For next season the main measure is the electronic ticket, to tackle violence as well as tax evasion,” said Kontonis.

The measure of closed gates does not concern Cup games despite the concern voiced ahead of the second leg between AEK and Olympiakos at the Olympic Stadium next Wednesday, which is expected to be sold out. Kontonis said there will be extra security in that match.

Earlier on Wednesday Kontonis met with Super League president Giorgos Borovilos, Hellenic Football Federation chief Giorgos Girtzikis and Football League chairman Spyros Kaloyiannis to discuss the clubs’ blueprint of proposals for tackling violence.

“We had a very productive meeting where we analyzed many issues that will come into effect over the next few days and more at the end of the season,» Girtzikis told reporters after the meeting.

“I think we are heading in the right direction in addressing violence, which is what all this is about; everything that has been said is based on logic and we have to prevent a repetition of what has gone on several times this season during matches,” he added.

On Thursday the federation will announce a set of measures with immediate application across all levels of the Greek game.

Next Monday Kontonis will meet with UEFA president Michel Platini as well as with FIFA officials.

[Reuters & Kathimerini]