Greece to close supporters’ clubs after soccer-linked murder

February 21, 2022 GMT
FILE - PAOK fans light flares during a Greek Soccer League match between PAOK and AEK Athens at Toumba stadium in the northern Greek city of Thessaloniki, on Sunday, Sept. 23, 2018. Soccer supporters' clubs will be suspended in Greece for five months as part of a crackdown announced Monday, Feb. 21, 2022, triggered by the murder of a 19-year-old who was stabbed and beaten to death by soccer hooligans in the northern city of Thessaloniki. (AP Photo/Giannis Papanikos, File)
FILE - PAOK fans light flares during a Greek Soccer League match between PAOK and AEK Athens at Toumba stadium in the northern Greek city of Thessaloniki, on Sunday, Sept. 23, 2018. Soccer supporters' clubs will be suspended in Greece for five months as part of a crackdown announced Monday, Feb. 21, 2022, triggered by the murder of a 19-year-old who was stabbed and beaten to death by soccer hooligans in the northern city of Thessaloniki. (AP Photo/Giannis Papanikos, File)
FILE - PAOK fans light flares during a Greek Soccer League match between PAOK and AEK Athens at Toumba stadium in the northern Greek city of Thessaloniki, on Sunday, Sept. 23, 2018. Soccer supporters' clubs will be suspended in Greece for five months as part of a crackdown announced Monday, Feb. 21, 2022, triggered by the murder of a 19-year-old who was stabbed and beaten to death by soccer hooligans in the northern city of Thessaloniki. (AP Photo/Giannis Papanikos, File)
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FILE - PAOK fans light flares during a Greek Soccer League match between PAOK and AEK Athens at Toumba stadium in the northern Greek city of Thessaloniki, on Sunday, Sept. 23, 2018. Soccer supporters' clubs will be suspended in Greece for five months as part of a crackdown announced Monday, Feb. 21, 2022, triggered by the murder of a 19-year-old who was stabbed and beaten to death by soccer hooligans in the northern city of Thessaloniki. (AP Photo/Giannis Papanikos, File)
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FILE - PAOK fans light flares during a Greek Soccer League match between PAOK and AEK Athens at Toumba stadium in the northern Greek city of Thessaloniki, on Sunday, Sept. 23, 2018. Soccer supporters' clubs will be suspended in Greece for five months as part of a crackdown announced Monday, Feb. 21, 2022, triggered by the murder of a 19-year-old who was stabbed and beaten to death by soccer hooligans in the northern city of Thessaloniki. (AP Photo/Giannis Papanikos, File)

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

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

Ten people have been arrested in connection with the attack.

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

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“Hooliganism is a global scourge that is responsible for the death of dozens of people. We must join forces, the government, political parties, soccer 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.

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