Fan Violence Spoiled Greek Soccer

ATHENS – Fan hooliganism, a constant problem in Greek soccer, disrupted Panathinaikos’ 3-0 drubbing of Olympiakos on March 2 and police said 11 people were arrested for violence, including hitting the winning coach Yiannis Athanasiou in the eye with a cup full of ice, leaving him with a bandage while he continued.

“A total of 26 persons were brought in to police headquarters of which 11 were detained for violent acts before, during and after the match at the Karaiskakis Stadium,” a police statement said. Police said they used “a limited amount of chemicals” in order to contain the unruly Olympiakos fans at their home stadium in Piraeus

In another incident, a flare thrown on the pitch narrowly missed hitting several players.

Olympiakos’ Nigerian forward Michael Olaitan collapsed in the first half and was taken to hospital where he was diagnosed with a heart complaint caused by anxiety and stress. Doctors kept him in the hospital for further tests on Monday.

Panathinaikos surprised league-leading Olympiakos, which was coming off a stunning 2-0 victory over Manchested United in European Champions League play.

Olympiakos still has a runaway 19-point lead in the Greek league but its rivalry with the Greens is legendary and frequently spawns violence that has sometimes been deadly. Apart from arrests, nothing is done about it.