Massive security effort for soccer league match

Any previous talk by government officials concerning reduced police presence at soccer matches, or even making clubs exclusively responsible for security at games, has been tossed out the window for this Sunday’s vital 12th-round clash between soccer’s league leader AEK and second-placed defending champion Olympiakos. On duty, in and around AEK’s 25,000-capacity home ground in the Nea Philadelphia district, will be some 1,200 police officers. The overall security effort also entails surveillance by two public prosecutors as well as three officials of EPAE, local soccer’s association for professional clubs. Considering the scale of security initiatives being taken, only the army units will be missing. Providing a bad example for fans ahead of Sunday’s clash, club officials from both sides have been involved in heated negotiations over the number of tickets available for the visiting side’s fans. At a meeting yesterday, demands by Olympiakos officials for a 30-percent share of tickets for their fans, which the visiting club is legally entitled to, was the source of tension. Such a deal would provide Olympiakos with 6,300 tickets but AEK pushed to lower the number to 4,800. At this stage, the issue remains unresolved. Greek police, which will have the final say, is expected soon to announce its decision to both clubs in writing. On another front, a court verdict expected tomorrow will decide which of two pay-TV stations, Super Sport or Alpha Digital, currently locked in a legal battle over broadcasting rights to AEK’s home games, will air the game for television viewers. Directed by Ellie Chouraqui, starring Andie MacDowell, Elias Koteas, David Strathairn. Convinced she saw her husband in a Yugoslavian prison camp on CNN, the wife of a missing photojournalist goes to Europe to track him down.

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