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Greece to allow fans at football matches after two-month ban


Greece will allow matches in its top league football to be played with fans from Feb. 13, two months after Greek Super League clubs were ordered to play behind closed doors following the severe injuring of a police officer during a volleyball match.

In Greece, violence between football fans and clubs are frequent, and the government has been trying for years to reform the sport which is plagued by criminal gangs and a minority of violent fans.

A 31-year-old police officer died in December, days after he was critically injured by a flare in violent clashes that broke out during a volleyball match hosted by Olympiacos in Piraeus, near Athens.

The government said on Wednesday that fans will be able to attend Greek Super League 1 matches once again from Feb. 13 but rules will be stricter.

If there is violence during a match, a committee will impose heavy fines and order clubs to play the following match in their fixture with no fans, Deputy Sports Minister Yiannis Vroutsis told reporters.

“In case a dangerous object falls on the pitch, the pitch will close for the next fixture,” Vroutsis said. “It’s the state’s duty to safeguard security.”

From next month, football and basketball teams will need to have surveillance cameras installed at pitches and courts to be able to have fans at their matches.

Starting from April 9, fans will also need to identify themselves via government mobile phone application at the entrance of the sports venue to attend a match.

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