At Spot of Man Killed Over Soccer, Tsipras Calls for End of Sports Violence

ATHENS – Standing where a 19-year-old man was attacked and killed on a Thessaloniki sidewalk by a gang of soccer fans of a rival team, major opposition SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras said the tragedy should finally bring pressure to end sports violence in the country.

Alkis Kampanos was with friends when the gang poured out cars and attacked them, authorities saying those behind the assault were fans of PAOK and they asked him his allegiance, which was said to be the rival Aris.

That was in February, 2022 when led the then New Democracy government to vow a crackdown on sports violence and hooliganism which resulted in a series of raids on fan headquarters and tough talk but diminished.

Since then, the violence has continued on the streets between rival fans and inside soccer stadiums where they were not prevented from bringing in weapons and flares and causing havoc, long tolerated by governments seen afraid to offend a voting base.

Tsipras, campaigning ahead of June 25’s second round of elections, was in the northern port city and at the scene of the murder said that “a call for a society that does not allow violence in sports arenas, in sports, and among our children is still timely.”

But during his 4 ½ year reign in power that ended in a July, 2019 snap election rout by New Democracy, his government also was unable to deal with soccer violence and hooliganism, the sport noted for corruption and match-fixing allegations.

Tsipras toured the neighborhood of the attack and referred to the ongoing trial of the suspects accused of killing Kampanos – a fatal blow being a knife across his leg – and injuring two of his friends after a game between PAOK and Aris.

He said said that, “Beyond justice, it’s up to us to condemn on a daily basis behaviors that promote fanaticism,” in sports, Greek fans zealous in supporting teams that have many foreign players in their mix.

Thessaloniki mixed jury court prosecutor Kyriaki Kliampa said that the attackers who were reported to range from 21 to 26 should be found guilty of murder, as they planned the 40-second attack on him carefully and were “armed to the teeth.”

One of the 12 defendants in the trial allegedly confessed to dealing the fatal blow to the victim but no one has been named or identified under Greek privacy laws although the victim’s name was given immediately.

“I want to say that I am the one who stabbed Alkis in the leg. He was a fleeting shadow that I don’t remember well. Attending this trial … I realized it listening to all the coroners,” he was said to have told the court.

“It’s hard to remember this whole incident. When I heard that a guy had passed away, I was shocked – that’s the truth. I want Alkis’ parents to know the truth. I was honest from the start, I just didn’t have it that clear in my mind. I still have my doubts if I did, but in talks with the lawyers and the medical examiner, I was told that this stab wound fits the knife. I am sure, I am convinced, that it was done by me,” he said.

Some defendants apologized to his family but others denied having a role in the vicious attack with knives and other weapons that was caught on video, claiming they didn’t take part in the attack.


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