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Greek football suspended

February 25, 2015

Government officials say Greece's professional football leagues have been suspended indefinitely after riots between the country's two leading teams last weekend.

Griechenland Krawalle Olympiakos vs. Panathinaikos
Image: picture alliance/AP/Y. Karahalis

Matches in Greece's professional football leagues have been suspended indefinitely in a crackdown on football violence, the Super League said in a statement on Wednesday.

"What we have been informed is that the Super League and the Football League have been suspended indefinitely," Super League president Giorgos Borovilos told reporters.

"We have a new government who are looking to bring this subject up for discussion and implement state laws related to it."

The decision comes after a pitch invasion and flares being thrown at the end of the derby between Panathanikos and Olympiacos in Athens last weekend. Olympiacos midfielder Pajtim Kasami was struck on the arm by one of the flares, as chaotic scenes followed the final whistle.

Greece's Sports Minister Stavros Kontonis met Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Wednesday to discuss the matter and held further meetings with Borovilos.

Kontonis told national TV news channel Skai: "What went on during the (Athens) derby and what has been happening in other stadiums in the past has surpassed all limits... fans invading the pitch, throwing flares that are aimed to hurt people; all this is unthinkable and this situation cannot continue."

Krawalle Olympiakos vs. Panathinaikos
The riots after the game have prompted a swift responseImage: picture alliance/AP Photo

Kontonis had previously told Skai that the league would not start next season unless all 18 clubs had introduce smart-card ticketing and security camera systems.

Suspension length unknown

Borovilos said it had not yet been decided how long matches would be suspended and on what conditions they would resume, adding that "some things are not done in one or two weeks."

The entire situation was not aided by an abrupt ending to a Super League meeting on Tuesday when Olympiacos president Evangelos Marinakis and his Panathanikos counterpart Giannis Alafouzos sparked a violent scuffle.

The Greek league has been suspended twice already this season, due to fan-related violence. First in September last year, when a fan died after clashes between fans at a third-division game, and then again in November after Christoforos Zografos, assistant director of the Central Refereeing Committee (KED), was taken to hospital following an assault.

Olympiacos, who were leading the Greek Super League, will face Dnipro in the Europa League on Thursday night.

jh/apc (Reuters, ap)