These announcements were made in the wake of police officer Giorgos Lyggeridis being seriously injured by a naval flare during incidents that occurred on July 12 outside the disused “Melina Merkouris” gymnasium in Rentis while a volleyball match between Olympiacos and Panathinaikos was in progress. The unfortunate policeman took his final breath twenty days later and was the third victim of fan violence in Greece in less than two years, after Alkis Kampanos in Thessaloniki in February 2022 and Michalis Katsouris in New Philadelphia in August 2023.
Within two months, the Ministry of Sports developed and submitted a draft law on measures to counteract fan violence, which was passed by an overwhelming majority in parliament and became state law.
Thus, from next Tuesday, February 13, Super League stadiums will be reopened to fans, but with new data that will be introduced either immediately or within the next two months, according to precise and “tight” schedules. As the Minister of Digital Governance Dimitris Papastergiou, Deputy Minister of Sport Yiannis Vroutsis and government representative Pavlos Marinakis usually mentioned during the presentation of new solutions, “stadiums are opening in a new environment.”
The main change, which will take effect from day one, may not be immediately noticed by fans going to the stadium, but it is of great importance because it involves imposing penalties on teams for any inappropriate behavior by fans, such as throwing dangerous or flammable objects (firecrackers). , sparklers, etc.) and fans' intrusion onto the pitch.
The reformed and strengthened Standing Committee on Combating Violence (DEAB) will impose administrative sanctions (fines, partial closure of stands and penalties for playing matches behind closed doors) with exclusive jurisdiction. Essentially, an automated penalty framework is established, depending on the seriousness of the offenses and their repeatability (reckless teams will be punished more severely), which will be imposed and administered immediately, without being subject to sports justice. In fact, the law states that if DEAB does not initiate sanctions immediately, two days after receiving the Police report, the prescribed sanctions will be imposed directly by the relevant Minister of Sports.
Cameras in all Super League and Basket League stadiums
The second milestone is March 6, when the installation and operation of surveillance and monitoring systems in accordance with the new specifications must be completed in all stadiums hosting Super League and A1 (Basket League) matches. In fact, the act defines a very wide scope of operation of cameras, which will cover almost the entire sports facility, including corridors leading to team locker rooms, but also to referees, which has been demanded by arbitration bodies for years.
Three days before each match, the police will check the legality of the system and only after confirming that everything is in order will fans be allowed to attend. Otherwise, the hosts will have 12 hours to resolve any issues and failing that, the match will be played behind closed doors. Additionally, if on the day of the match the Police find a problem in the operation of the monitoring system, a closed-door penalty will be imposed on the team's next match at its own stadium, and the aggravating factor will be the illegal operation of cameras and the incident.
Ticket via gov.gr wallet
The recent time change will be felt even more by anyone going to the stadium, as it affects the process of identifying ticket holders via the gov.gr Wallet application. The solution will come into force on April 9 and involves assigning a unique ticket code to a natural person – explains the Ministry of Digitization responsible for this process. Without identification, no ticket holder – either a single ticket or a season ticket – will be able to enter the stadium, while those violating these rules will face both fines and a ban from entering stadiums for six months (twelve in the event of a repeat). . Special regulations apply to the entry of minors under 15 years of age, foreigners and guests.
This is certainly not the first time strict measures have been announced to combat the scourge of sports-related violence. However, as the Government emphasizes, this network of measures (which also includes regulations regarding Fan Clubs, a penal clause on the basis of which the financing of teams from bookmakers will be reduced, etc.) will be implemented and will be successful because “… everything is now described clearly and categorically, without loopholes in the regulations. You can't escape from them,” emphasizes the Ministry of Sport.