UEFA & Greece focus on soccer violence on day of Super Cup final outside Athens
Ceferin held talks with Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis. The were joined later by representatives from Greece’s four major clubs.
A 29-year-old AEK Athens fan, Michalis Katsouris, was stabbed and killed last week after scores of supporters of Croatian club Dinamo Zagreb, many wearing masks and wielding wooden bats, staged an attack outside the Greek club’s stadium.
Wednesday’s meetings were held hours before the Super Cup match between Sevilla and Manchester City at Karaiskakis Stadium near Athens.
“We have a fantastic match tonight but this time it’s a bit different,” Ceferin said.
“We all feel sorrow. We feel outrage because of the idiotic things that happened, the violence without any reason,” the UEFA president said. “This is a cancer of football. Don’t call them football fans because they are not football fans.”
Mitsotakis said the four major clubs — AEK and crosstown rivals Panathinaikos and Olympiakos as well as PAOK from the northern city of Thessaloniki — had agreed to place supporters’ organizations under tighter control. He added that Athens would support closer cooperation between UEFA and European Union law enforcement agencies.
More than a 100 people, mostly Croatian nationals, have been detained on charges of murder and membership of a criminal gang in the wake of the Athens attack.
Croatian President Zoran Milanovic accused Greek authorities of treating the arrested fans like “prisoners of war,” in remarks earlier this week that a Greek government official described as “unhelpful.”
UEFA called off a Champions League qualifier between AEK and Dinamo last week but rejected a request by the Greek club to suspend the Zagreb team.
Late Tuesday, AEK came from behind for a 2-1 win with a 90th-minute goal at Maksimir Stadium in Zagreb.
Costas Galanopoulos, who scored the late goal, held up a black armband after putting in the winner.
“We really wanted the win. We didn’t come here for a draw,” the 25-year-old Greek midfielder said. “I didn’t now how to celebrate the goal, and I didn’t want to provoke anyone — the fans or the team — but it was the least we could do as players and as a club.”