Greek Deputy Minister of Sports Punishes Panathinaikos FC for Violence



image_174Deputy Minister of Sports Stavros Kontonis decided to close gates 13 and 14 of the Panathinaikos football field and impose a 90,000-euro fine as punishment for violent incidents.

Gates 13 and 14 of the Apostolos Nikolaidis football field host the club’s most fanatic supporters. On November 21, 2015 Panathinaikos fans shot flares from a flare gun against players of arch rival Olympiacos during warm up. The game was never played and Panathinaikos FC was punished by losing the game, had three points subtracted from its ranking, forced to play four games without supporters and paid a 190,000-euro fine to the Hellenic Football Federation (EPO).

The deputy sports minister announced yesterday that he decided to punish Panathinaikos further as an act to stop violence in football games. The actions decided were the closing of the two gates until the end of the football season (April 17) and a fine of 90,000 euros to the club’s management.

According to Kontonis the sole purpose of the punishment is to prevent violence in future games. In a statement issued by his office, he claims the decision was taken after balancing the facts, taking into account constitutional requirements and general principles of law.

Finally, the deputy minister acknowledges the cooperation of Panathinaikos FC in the identification of three perpetrators as a mitigating circumstance.

Panathinaikos fans react to punishing measures

The reaction of Panathinaikos fans to the Kontonis decision was immediate. On Tuesday night about 300 Panathinaikos supporters gathered outside SYRIZA headquarters at Koumoundourou Square to protest. They shouted slogans against the government and the deputy sports minister in particular.

The mobilization of the club supporters was a result of an effort in the social media. The protest was peaceful and the “greens” pledged to continue their mobilization in the coming days.

According to Goal sports newspaper, the next protest rally will take place on Thursday outside the ministry of sports after the basketball match against Lokomotiv Kuban.

The big protest rally will be held on Sunday in Livadia, where more than 1,500 fans will watch the match with local team Levadiakos where they will express their frustration for the closing of gates 13 and 14.