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Government lifts Greek championship suspension

The Greek government on Wednesday decided to allow the country`s Super League matches to go ahead this weekend after last week`s postponement due to crowd violence.

Government lifts Greek championship suspension

Athens: The Greek government on Wednesday decided to allow the country`s Super League matches to go ahead this weekend after last week`s postponement due to crowd violence.

But the games will all be played behind closed doors, deputy sports minister Stavros Kontonis announced.

The decision was taken after the government received assurances that steps would be taken in future to combat public disorder at matches.

"Today we had a long discussion with representatives of football and I can tell you that from tomorrow (Thursday) there is a guide to address and combat violence," Kontonis said.

"The decision of the government is that the matches in the Super League will be held behind closed doors this weekend and we will review the situation again next week."

Kontonis added: "Direct measures are the immediate discontinuation of matches if there is any negative incident.

"In parallel, there will be large fines and deduction of points. For the following measures, electronic tickets will be issued. No matches will be held if the necessary measures to combat violence are not taken."

Super League president Giorgos Borovilos said: "You cannot solve all the problems in a two-hour meeting. The minister is open to suggestions and wants to work with us for a better league.

"I urge fans to be especially careful because the new measures will have consequences for the teams. We want to have as much as possible safe stadiums."

The government suspended all of last week`s Super League matches for the third time this season following violence between supporters of rival Athens teams Olympiakos and Panathinaikos the previous weekend.

Fans invaded the pitch, firing flares and hurling seats and other missiles.

Before the so-called "derby of the eternal enemies", flares, firecrackers and stones were thrown at Olympiakos president Vangelis Marinaikis, who was unhurt.

Just before the start of the second half, a flare hurled by a spectator hit Olympiakos` Swiss midfielder Pajtim Kasami on the shoulder.

A chair was thrown at Olympiakos` Portuguese coach Vítor Pereira, narrowly missing him. About 50 Panathinaikos fans then ran on to the pitch to chase him away.

Riot police fired tear gas to restore order in the ground. Two people were slightly injured during the scuffles which lasted five minutes, media reports said.

Greek football has long been marred by violence.

In September matches were halted after a supporter from Ethnikos was killed in Crete during a third division match. In November a referee was attacked and hospitalised.

Kontonis is scheduled to meet UEFA president Michel Platini next Monday in Switzerland to brief him on developments in Greek football.

From Zee News

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