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SPORTS

Police Ban Traveling Fans Ahead of Greek Cup Final over Fears of Violence

ATHENS — Police have issued a ban on traveling fans ahead of the Greek Cup final later on Wednesday because of fears of violence, despite an order for the match to be played without supporters in the stadium.

League champion AEK Athens faces PAOK in the central city of Volos after the authorities took several months to find a venue.

Regional police chief Giorgis Dizes thanked the two clubs for publicly requesting that fans respect the ban.

“We are carrying out continuous inspections in the stadium area, in the city and outside the city,” Dizes said. “We hope that fans respect the guidance and that we have a good final. That will send a positive message to Greek society.”

The Greek Football Federation, which organizes the competition, had requested assistance from counterparts in Albania, Cyprus, Poland, Serbia, Australia, Germany and England in seeking an overseas venue. But it eventually reached an agreement with regional authorities to host the final at the Panthessaliko stadium.

Volos officials, however, have warned they will call off the game if violence between rival fans breaks out.

Soccer in Greece has been troubled by fan violence for decades, fuelled by explosive disputes between powerful club owners.

Early Wednesday, police carried out highway inspections outside the city to try and spot supporters attempting to defy the ban.

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