Riots before the cup final in basketball

Serious clashes took place before last night’s basketball Greek Cup final at Hellenikon, southern Athens, between archrivals Panathinaikos and Olympiakos. Panathinaikos fans clashed with police both inside and outside the ground, although there were no more than 600 fans from each side at a stadium that can hold up to 6,000 people. The small number of fans attending, just as was the case at last year’s final, was the authorities’ idea of a way to avoid rioting by rival groups of fans, but this seems increasingly impossible these days. Everything started when police reportedly forced a Panathinaikos fan to take off his belt and he refused. The police arrested the fan but others came to his rescue and the clashes quickly spread to involve seats being torn up and other such «weapons.» The game started about an hour later and was meant to finish just before midnight last night. At half-time Panathinaikos led by just two points (32-30).