Time to enforce law, minister says

Responding to a court verdict delivered on Monday and sentencing four soccer fans to between six and 15 months in prison following violence at Sunday’s league match between Olympiakos and Ergotelis, the country’s top sporting official, Deputy Culture Minister Giorgos Orfanos, said yesterday that it was high time that the law was enforced in order to upgrade Greek soccer. «Based on this verdict, I’d like to repeat that the state has decided to take action. It has ratified laws that are being implemented,» Orfanos said. «It’s time for all of us to accept the laws and proceed to transform soccer the way we want it to be,» he added. Four Olympiakos supporters were convicted Monday following their arrest during post-match violence on the island of Crete, where struggling Ergotelis stunned the visitors, the league’s front runners, with a 2-1 win. Rioting fans ripped up plastic seats at the Pancrition stadium and started fires in the stands of the venue built for last year’s Olympic Games. Under a new anti-hooligan law, applied for the first time, the convicted fans were not released from prison custody pending their appeal. The court sentenced two fans to 15 months in prison, one to 12 months and one to six months, while the four were each fined 3,000 euros. Olympiakos’s loss helped Athens rival Panathinaikos and AEK trim its lead in the competition to two and three points respectively. (AP, Kathimerini)

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