Panathinaikos docked FIVE points after rioting fans fight with police
11:04 GMT, 23 March 2012
Panathinaikos have been dealt the stiffest punishment in Greek Super League history after extreme violence between fans and police.
The league's disciplinary committee docked five points from the side and has forced them to play four games behind closed doors, as a punishment for the scenes which caused their derby match against Olympiakos at the Olympic Stadium on Saturday to be abandoned.
The league said the match would be recorded as a 3-0 loss for Panathinaikos who would also pay a fine of 252,500 euros (210,894) for failing to maintain order at the game.
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Mindless: Hundreds of fans went on the rampage and fires engulfed many sections of the stadium
The club were deducted three points from this season's table and two points from next year's.
The strict penalties are part of a new sports law which the Greek
government passed in February aiming to clamp down on football
Panathinaikos have exercised their right to appeal and their case will be heard next week.
Running battle: Nine police officers were injured in the riots – including two who were surrounded by a large group and beaten with sticks (below)
The violence at the Olympic Stadium, the ground which hosted the 2004
Olympics, was some of the worst seen in recent seasons.
The start of the second half was delayed by 45 minutes as fans pelted
police with Molotov cocktails, flares and missiles, and the game was
subsequently abandoned altogether with nine minutes remaining with
Olympiakos 1-0 ahead.
Twenty police officers were injured and more than 50 arrests were made
while three fire engines were called in to extinguish flames as hundreds
of fans set alight sections of the stands.
Three of those arrested were
charged with possession of explosives, police said.
Abandoned: The referee eventually called a halt to proceedings as the battles raged in the stands
The club had already been in trouble with the Super League's
disciplinary committee this season for crowd violence and were forced to
play one match behind closed doors earlier this month.
With five games remaining, Olympiakos now have an 10-point advantage and
look odds-on to retain their Super League title, which would be their
Clashes between police and fans
started before the game, when hundreds of youths without tickets tried
to enter the stadium. The conflict continued throughout, forcing the
second half to start 35 minutes late.
Ablaze: A number of large fires broke out around the stadium
A group of about 200 hooded
individuals were seated in a VIP section, next to the players' tunnel.
Some of them carried clubs and iron bars. They were confronted by a line
of riot police on the other side of a trough, who they attacked at
At one stage, about 30 of the hooded
hooligans isolated two policemen and attacked them with clubs and bars.
The beating went on for about five minutes before another detachment of
riot police came to their colleagues' rescue.
Fire damage: The electronic scoreboard was set alight and emergency services had to enter the ground to dampen the flames
No Olympiakos fans attended the game
at Olympic Stadium in accordance with a league policy not to allow
visiting fans due to fears of violence.
'We dedicated several thousand personnel to policing the game and we faced, beginning two hours before the game started, escalating attacks,' police spokesman Athanassios Kokalakis said.
Sports general secretary Panos Bitsaxis said on television that the state had taken 'the best possible security measures' and accused football clubs of doing nothing to curb the fanatical supporters and of opposing the state's attempts to impose tougher sanctions.
Arrests: police detained 57 with a further 20 arrested after the disturbing scenes at the Olympic Stadium
Restoring order: police eventually brought the disturbance under control
'The noise was so much that the players could not concentrate,' Olympiakos coach Ernesto Valverde said.
'We had been co-operating with the police for almost a month in preparation for the game,' league general manager Michalis Anagnostou said. 'The result was not what we wished for.'
VIDEO: HOOLIGANS ATTACK POLICE WITH FLARES…