Greece shaken by killing of soccer fan in Athens

At least 17 Croatian hooligans arrested for their alleged involvement

Ahmet Gencturk  | 09.08.2023 - Update : 09.08.2023
Greece shaken by killing of soccer fan in Athens


Greece was left reeling Tuesday after a Greek soccer fan was killed in overnight clashes between rival supporters of AEK Athens and Croatia’s Dinamo Zagreb ahead of a Champions League qualifying match in the capital.

Speaking about the killing of the 29-year-old AEK fan, who was stabbed several times by Croatian hooligans outside AEK's football pitch in the northern Athens suburb of Nea Philadelphia, Citizen Protection Minister Yiannis Economou announced that seven senior police officers will immediately be removed from their positions, according to the state-run AMNA news agency.

Economou stressed that it was unacceptable that these hooligans had been permitted to cross the border and make their way to Athens.

“There could be more removals and transfers of officers following an internal inquiry over the handling of the events to determine responsibility,” he added.

Football governing body UEFA has postponed the qualifying match between AEK and Dinamo Zagreb.

Meanwhile, the Hellenic Police (ELAS) said a total of 17 Croatian nationals were detained at three different locations across the country for their alleged involvement in the clashes with AEK fans during which the fatal stabbing occurred.

In a related development, of the 98 people who were arrested during the clashes late Monday, four Greeks who had been injured were released earlier Tuesday.

The remaining 94 will appear before a prosecuting magistrate Wednesday while DNA samples are collected from them to identify the killer of the fan.

Reactions from opposition parties

Sokratis Famellos, chair of the main opposition SYRIZA-Progressive Alliance's parliamentary group, said the killing was "yet another incident in which the government, instead of enhancing security, is creating insecurity.”

Nikos Androulakis, leader of the PASOK party, called the incident shocking.

"We demand immediate answers regarding the planning of the security measures from the Citizen Protection Ministry and the leadership of the police ahead of the football match and also the unprecedented fact that, in spite of a ban on the movement of fans by UEFA, a convoy of hundreds of hooligans crossed the country without being spotted and stopped by the police force," he added.

In February last year, 19-year-old Alkis Kampanos was stabbed and beaten to death by football hooligans in the Charilaou area of Thessaloniki, Greece after they came up to him while he was with a group of friends and asked which football team they followed.

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