x

Politics

Mitsotakis Says Sports Violence Held in Check, Soccer Under Control

ATHENS – After repeated brief crackdowns against hooliganism had failed to deter aggression, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said measures and penalties are working and sports violence is being held down.

During an appearance on SKAI TV he said he believes authorities will be able to keep more violence from breaking out if sports team officials, especially those oligarchs owning the teams, cooperate.

“We are still waiting for the police to conclude their investigation into the tragic incident involving the death of a police officer in Renti but I want to stress that the actions we took, the drastic closure of football stadiums, the automatic penalties that are now imposed without any discussion or asterisks, for now appear to have generated positive results,” Mitsotakis said.

That was in reference to riot police officer Giorgos Lyggeridis, 31, who died after being shot in the thigh with a flare while trying to help quell violence outside a stadium where a volleyball batch was being played in December, 2023.

Interview of Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis in the “Unmatched” program on SKAI TV, Tuesday March 12, 2024. (DIMITRIS PAPAMITSOS/PRIME MINISTER’S PRESS OFFICE/EUROKINISSI)

In February, 2021, a 19-year-old man, Alkis Kambanos, died after being stabbed in an attack by a gang of hooligans from a rival soccer team in Greece’s second-largest city of Thessaloniki, for which seven men were sentenced to life in prison.

Five others, who were determined to be accessories to the murder, got sentences from 19 to 27 years, although no one is expected to serve more than 20 years, at most. Kambanos, and two of his friends, who were injured, were fans of sports club Aris Thessaloniki and the murderers and accessories fans of intercity rival club PAOK.

After that police conducted raids on the headquarters of soccer fans across the country and uncovered weapons, the government then limiting teams to having just one club of supporters in a bid to contain more violence.

In August, 2023, more than 100 people – most of them Croatians – were detained after a deadly clash with AEK soccer fans outside an Athens stadium where a Greek fan, Michalis Katsouris, was stabbed to death, his killer not caught.

Interview of Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis in the “Unmatched” program on SKAI TV, Tuesday March 12, 2024. (DIMITRIS PAPAMITSOS/PRIME MINISTER’S PRESS OFFICE/EUROKINISSI)

Some games were then held in empty stadiums, which happens occasionally in Greece where successive governments haven’t been able to contain sports violence, soccer fans especially being a big voting base.

Mitsotakis said that stadiums now are quieter although police and security hadn’t been able to keep fans from being in objects and flares sometimes tossed on the fields or at players and other officials on the sidelines.

Mitsotakis said that the atmosphere at games is better, “where teams could lose at home to arch-rivals without extreme reactions. “…we can express our satisfaction that in football, at least, we seem to be heading in the right direction.”

“In basketball we are much further ahead and we see images in both the Greek championship and the EuroLeague with many young children and families in stadiums. This is how we want professional sport to be. I believe in football as well, provided that everyone wants this. And when I say everyone, I am talking about club officials,” the Prime Minister said.

RELATED

For the first time, Greek voters in the homeland and the Diaspora will be able to participate in elections for the European Parliament for the first time on June 9.

Top Stories

Columnists

A pregnant woman was driving in the HOV lane near Dallas.

General News

NEW YORK – Meropi Kyriacou, the new Principal of The Cathedral School in Manhattan, was honored as The National Herald’s Educator of the Year.

Video

2 Germans, a Spaniard and a Senegalese Killed in Building Collapse in Spain’s Mallorca Island

MADRID (AP) — Spain's National Police on Friday gave details on four people killed when a building housing a bar and restaurant club collapsed on the island of Mallorca.

NEW YORK – The New York Times has reported that “an aide to Mayor Eric Adams who served as his longtime liaison to the Turkish community has turned against him and is cooperating with the corruption investigation into Mr.

BOSTON – Crowds flocked to the Greek Festival of the St.

The news about air travel lately hasn't been pleasant.

Beyond the issues in Crete and our own in America, as we wrote in our ‘Analysis’ in last week’s edition, Patriarch Bartholomew has unfortunately ensnared himself in problems with the majority of local Orthodox Churches worldwide, with few exceptions such as those of Greece, Alexandria, and Cyprus, due to the granting of Autocephaly to Ukraine, which has proven to be ill-timed and ill-suited.

Enter your email address to subscribe

Provide your email address to subscribe. For e.g. [email protected]

You may unsubscribe at any time using the link in our newsletter.