Citizen Protection Minister Yiannis Economou on Tuesday announced that seven senior officers in the Hellenic Police will immediately be removed from their positions following the serious incidents between soccer hooligans in Nea Philadelphia, in which one person was killed.
Economou said it was “unacceptable” that the Croatian hooligans had been permitted to cross the border and make their way to Athens and that prevention on the part of the authorities had failed.
He also made it clear that the matter will not stop there, and that there could be more removals and transfers of officers, following an internal inquiry over the handling of the events to determine responsibility “at all levels and in all forms”.
The internal inquiry will be assigned to a senior officer by the chief of police on Tuesday.
Economou also offered his condolences for the death of the 29-year-old AEK supporter who was knifed and offered assurances of the political will to address and defeat sports violence.
“Sport is not a space of violence…Unfortunately, in spite of the great effort that were made, especially after the murder of Alkis Kabanos, we have not yet managed to defeat fan violence. We will persevere in this direction, more systematically and more intensively. But, clearly, we need a lot more on every level: sports-related, educational, political and more broadly social. It is a time of cooperation and effort, not confrontation and argument that offer nothing. They don’t reveal, don’t give solutions but further conceal and cover up the problem.”
He also noted that the problem was deep and European-wide, involving supporters from different countries that had created international networks of violence and operated in many countries.
Economou said that he had ordered the removal and suspension of the head of the department for combatting violence in sports venues, as well as the heads of the traffic police of Ioannina, the heads of the three Antirrio-Ioannina highway traffic police departments, and of the Achaia and Corinth national highway traffic police.
AEK-DNK Dinamo match postponed after soccer fan’s murder
UEFA is to postpone a planned football match between AEK Athens and DNK Dinamo Zagreb on Tuesday night following the murder of an AEK fan in sports-related violence the previous day.
A meeting at OPAP arena on the security measures ended with AEK walking out and laying blame for Monday night’s events on the Hellenic Police and the Croatian club, accusing DNK Dinamo’s management that it had “known everything and allowed it to happen” without informing anyone.
AEK CEO Giorgos Kosmas said that Dinamo must have known that an entire convoy had left Zagreb, while he said the Greek police were to blame for allowing this convoy to then traverse the length and breadth of Greece to meet up with their accomplices from a rival Greek team and get to Nea Philadelphia.
“Dinamo Zagreb and the Greek police are absolutely responsible for everything that happened last night,” he said before walking out.