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Society

Trial of Olympiakos Hooligans Reveals Ties With Team’s Management

ATHENS – Prosecutors put together a case they said showed how Olympiakos hooligans supporting their team’s volleyball club orchestrated attacks on riot police that led to an officer being killed from injuries suffered from a flare attack.

In official documents, police said the leading members of the gang had a direct relationship with Olympiakos management executives, being given accreditation to allow them free movement in and out of the stadium.

The case was presented with findings of the police Sub-Division for the Prevention of Sports Violence against 67 people charged in the death of 31-year-old officer Giorgos Lyngeridis outside a volleyball stadium in August, 2023.

Prosecutors said it was an organized assault brought by the Gate 7 Olympiakos hooligans gang who were said to have a relationship with the management of the team owned by shipping oligarch Evangelos Marinakis.

The suspects are charged with 12 felonies including directing and joining a criminal organization, manslaughter, instigating manslaughter and causing an explosion but were given more time to prepare their defense, common in Greece.

The suspects, according to the police file, also had a paid relationship with either the team or the Municipality of Piraeus. The arrested Gate 7 leader appeared to be working in the Olympiakos boutique.

Another suspect still at large had been working at Olympiakos Amateur Athletics since 2020, but was fired the night of the fatal attack. Two more people accused as leaders were employed as contract workers with the municipality.

The attack took place shortly after the end of the first set of the volleyball match between Olympiakos and arch-rival Panathinaikos, successive governments tolerating violence because the fans are an important voting base.

Recorded cell phone conversations showed some suspects were worried in the aftermath of the attack, one of many that regularly occur before, during and after games or on the streets in between matches.

But others boasted about what they had done in the attack that killed the officer and the investigation showed 32 of the accused met before the game outside the VIP gate of the Karaiskaki Stadium.

They loaded ammunition, including naval flares and dynamites and others went out to buy gasoline to make Molotov Cocktails and headed to the Melina Merkouri Indoor Stadium to attack the riot police unit stationed there.

The Hellenic Police (ELAS) said that the perpetrators did not wear their group’s insignia as they usually do, but black clothes to make it more difficult for them to be identified.

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