Friday, March 4, 2016

Greek Cup Cancelled Due to Crowd Violence

Greece cup, soccer, football

- Riot police clashes with fans during a football match between Athens bitter rivals Olympiakos and Panathinaikos on February 22, 2015.

ATHENS, March 3 - The government of Greece decided to cancel this season's Greek Cup on Thursday after the first leg of the semi-final between PAOK Salonika and Olympiakos Piraeus was stopped because of crowd violence.

The ruckus started after a penalty was denied to PAOK in last Wednesday's match. PAOK's players and supporters did not agree by the decision and started the violence as large groups of fans rushed onto the pitch, hurling flares and missiles before being dispersed by riot police.

Greece's deputy minister for sport Stavros Kontonis said that he recommended the halting of all competitive soccer in Greece, however the Super League and the rest of the professional soccer divisions will continue.

He raised concerns about refereeing appointments for key matches and called on the country's football federation to provide "meaningful answers."

"In view of...this mayhem in football grounds and a huge disturbance of the social peace and legal order in general, the government has decided to definitively cancel any process and match related to the Greek Cup as provided for by the law," the government said in a statement.

"The government is closely monitoring developments and those who do not take seriously our policies should be aware that we will not hesitate to make further decisions on these matters."

AEK Athens were due to host Atromitos in the first leg of the other semi-final on Thursday. The home side released a short media statement saying the match had been cancelled.

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