No Away Fans in Greece-Croatia World Cup Playoff Games

No away fans will be allowed to attend either leg of Croatia’s World Cup playoff games against Greece due to concerns over crowd violence, the Croatian Football Association (HNS) announced on Thursday.

“The leaderships of the HNS and the Greek Football Association have agreed in Athens today that there will be no away fans section in either of the two legs of the World Cup playoff tie between the two teams,” the HNS said.

“Having taken into consideration the risk factors and the security assessments, both football associations have made a joint decision not to sell any tickets to the away fans in either match. FIFA, UEFA and other governing bodies have been notified of the decision.”

The first leg game will take place in Dinamo Zagreb’s Maksimir stadium on Nov. 12, with the return fixture at the Georgios Karaiskakis stadium in Piraeus three days later.

A Euro 2012 qualifier between the two teams in 2011 was marred by serious crowd trouble in Athens, when masked Greek fans hurled flares at visiting Croatia supporters, who in turn ripped seats and threw them at riot police.

Animosity between Croatian and Greek fans is fuelled by friendly ties between hard-core Greek fans and those coming from Croatia’s bitter Balkan rivals Serbia, with the brethren groups often joining forces when either team plays the Croatians at club and international levels.