August 8 – In a dramatic move, UEFA has postponed tonight’s Champions League third qualifying round clash between AEK Athens and Dinamo Zagreb following the death of a 29-year-old Greek fan caught up in overnight clashes between rival supporters.
The victim was stabbed several times near AEK’s training ground late on Monday, leading Greek authorities to call for the game to be played behind closed doors.
Clashes broke out more than an hour after Dinamo’s training session ended, with fans from both sides hurling flares, makeshift explosives and stones. Three Greek and five Croatian fans were also injured and 98 arrested, police said.
In a statement UEFA said it “deplores in the strongest possible terms the appalling incidents that took place in Athens last night and resulted in the loss of a life. “
“While expressing our deepest sympathy to the family of the victim, to AEK Athens FC and its fans, we would like to reiterate that violence has no place in our sport and we expect that those responsible for this terrible act be arrested and consigned to justice in the shortest delay. “
“Following yesterday’s violence and in consultation with the local authorities, UEFA has decided that the conditions for the match between AEK Athens FC and GNK Dinamo to go ahead tonight are not met.”
UEFA said that what was going to be the second leg in Zagreb next Wednesday will now be the first leg. The second leg will be held in Athens on Friday 18 or Saturday 19. Away fans will be banned for both fixtures.
Greek football has been plagued by violence on and off the pitch and authorities have repeatedly promised to clean up the game. Last year the government increased the maximum sentence for crimes of fan violence from six months to five years after another stabbing death.
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