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Greece to close supporters’ clubs after football-linked murder

ATHENS, GREECE (AP) – Football supporters’ clubs will be shut down in Greece for five months as part of a crackdown announced on Monday, triggered by the murder of a 19-year-old who was stabbed and beaten to death by football hooligans in the northern city
of Thessaloniki.

The February 1 murder of Thessaloniki resident Alkis Kambanos has shocked the city and football fans nationwide in a country that has struggled to tame sport related violence and corruption for decades.

A total of 10 people have been arrested in connection with the attack.

Minister for public order Takis Theodorikakos said the new measures would include tougher jail terms and sentencing guidelines for organised sport related violence, adding that supporters clubs would be allowed to re-open only after July 31 following an extensive review of the operation rules and the introduction of a new operating framework.

“Hooliganism is a global scourge that is responsible for the death of dozens of people. We must join forces, the government, political parties, football teams, and players. No one has the right to be absent from this effort to confront the violence,” Theodorikakos said.

The new measures will require parliamentary approval but are likely to receive broad political support beyond the government’s comfortable majority.

Fans light flares during a Greek Soccer League match between PAOK and AEK Athens at Toumba stadium in the northern Greek city of Thessaloniki. PHOTO: AP
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