Fan ban defended

Public Order Minister Giorgos Floridis accused first-division soccer clubs yesterday of fostering violence and defended a controversial measure to drastically restrict the number of away fans from league games for the rest of the season. «These gentlemen who organize the league… are often responsible for shameful actions. Some of them want these armies of violent fans,» Giorgos Floridis said. «They could root out this phenomenon of violence.» Under new measures, which took effect at the weekend, no provisions will be made to supply away tickets to organized fan clubs that travel together and occupy single blocks in stadiums, while security cameras will be used to monitor the stands. The measures have drawn criticism, particularly from small teams which depend on traveling fans from big clubs to boost their finances. Some confusion resulted at a relegation-zone encounter between Kallithea and Ionikos. Some 30 visiting Ionikos fans who attended independently and not as part of an organized fan club, were arrested and held in police custody for ID checks. They were released after the game but missed seeing their side register its first away victory this season. «We will not take a single step back,» Floridis said, adding the measures could be lifted next season when new stadiums will be ready for the Olympics. (AP, Kathimerini)

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