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13 January 2004

So, this is it: the Olympic year. A year that assumed mythical status since 1997, when Athens was chosen as the host of the 2004 Olympic Games. However, the 2004 Greek football scene could not be further away from the "Olympic Spirit".

How else can we describe the situation after the latest decision of Greek State officials that essentially bans all away fans from watching any match!!!

Last Sunday's matchday saw 24 Ionikos fans being arrested before their team's game at Kallithea. Their only crime? They wore Ionikos scarves when they approached the stadium!!! No, they didn't clash with fans of the opposing club; they didn't have the slightest hostile behaviour. But they DID wear their team's colours, a crime of monstrous proportions according to the Minister of Sports!

This situation would be outright ridiculous, if it didn't also signify a dangerous reality: the people in charge of sports in Greece do not have the slightest idea of how to tackle hooliganism. Their latest decision only makes things much worse.

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