Football fans have stormed the pitch once more in Greece, this time at the domestic cup quarterfinal between AEK Athens and Olympiacos. The unrest will have repercussions for the Greek league this weekend, officials say.
AEK Athens president Dimitris Melissanidis has expressed frustration after his side's Cup quarterfinal with Olympiacos was abandoned with minutes to play, following fan violence on Wednesday.
The incident involved around 25 AEK supporters who ran onto the pitch moments after Olympiacos midfielder Franco Jara had given the visitors a decisive 1-0 lead in the 89th minute. The Athens fans proceeded to throw objects at opposing supporters, as well as chasing after the Olympiacos players, leading to the teams and match officials fleeing to the dressing rooms.
Officials then announced that the game would not resume and Olympiacos would therefore automatically progress to the semifinals.
The event is the latest in an ongoing series of violence at Greek domestic football matches in recent weeks. The Greek Super League resumed last week behind closed doors, following a one-week suspension due to persistent fan violence and a brawl during a Super League board meeting.
Fans excluded again this weekend
Deputy Sports Minister Stavros Kontonis, who left the stadium just minutes before the trouble began, issued a statement shortly after the incident, announcing that for a second straight matchday this weekend's Greek Super League matches will again be played behind closed doors.
AEK officials complained that after scoring, Jara riled the home fans by removing his shirt and kicking one of the corner flags. Olympiacos manager Vitor Pereira was also seen to make an explicit gesture towards the AEK fans.
"Greek football has reached the bottom," said AEK president Dimitris Melissanidis. "I think with such refereeing we will not see progress. We will do our part to help the government's attempt to change things for the better."
apc/al (AFP, Reuters)