Almost everyone from the small world of football, on the eve of the derby last Sunday (18th March) between Panathinaikos and Olimpiakos, listened, spoke and expected scenes of violence before and during the match in the Olympic sports centre in Athens.
Violent clashes between the fans (and not only) of Panathinaikos and the police forced the referee Tassos Kakos to permanently discontinue the game in favour of the other team Olimpiakos because, as he said himself, "I did not want to mourn the victims".
Eventually exactly what most people had expected happened. This was a chronicle of an expected termination of the game, which despite all warnings (even by the organized fans of Panathinaikos) was not prevented. And because not everybody knows what bookmakers know, a discontinuation of the derby was predicted even in illegal betting!
Violence in stadiums is not a privilege of only one team we can surely say that hooliganism has no colour. In this case, not only fans of Panathinaikos are to blame. Not even 13 months have passed since the invasion of hooligans, supporters of Olimpiakos in the "Karaiskakis" stadium and the booing against the players of Panathinaikos from last year's derby (19.02.2011).
Also last April the holiday for the Greek Cup turned into a nightmare when scenes of violence erupted on the stadium, first between the supporters of AEK and Atromitos and then between the fans and the police before the match was quickly cancelled (again by the referee Kakos).
Football hooliganism has existed in Greece since the early '80s, but in recent years it has been on a constant rise. The frequency and intensity of incidents inside and outside the stadiums has increased, even in the more romantic and peaceful sports like volleyball (male and female), water polo and handball!
Once football was the traditional battlefield, but now the hoodlums blinded by hate do not distinguish the colour of the ball.
Connection with the anarchists
Recently, the mode of action of the hordes of soccer fans is very similar to that of masked youths who are appearing as quickly as mushrooms in demonstrations in downtown Athens. Well informed sources indicate that both groups are like interconnected vessels that have a common enemy - the police, and a common goal - riots and looting. Both groups are eager for blood and no longer hesitate to join their forces, either in the stadiums or on the streets.
It is a very indicative fact, that according to the testimony of the fans of Panathinaikos in the scenes of violence last Sunday there were participants who were not fans of Panathinaikos. They had just found fertile ground and mixed with fans of the team. Apparently, the only difference between hooligans and the so-called "known unknowns" lies in the fact the fans are legitimate, organized, they have their guidance, centres for planning and operations which are prepared a few weeks before the battle. This is also confirmed by the police data, and by the findings detected in the centres of fans which are more reminiscent of terrorist hiding places than sports clubs.
It is also known that in many of these centres drugs are distributed, under the influence of which many of the hooligans in the stadiums outrage.
The transfer (via fraternizing) of hooligans from abroad is also the latest fashion! Panathinaikos fans have a close relationship with the supporters of Rapid Vienna and the fans of Olimpiakos – with Spartak Moscow and Eritros Asteras. Also the friendship between the fans of AEK supporters of Marseille has been ongoing for years, as well as that between PAOK and Partizan Belgrade. It is now standard practice in recent years for hooligans from abroad to come to Greece in order to participate either in scenes of violence in stadiums, or in the so-called "death matches"!
How do they get weapons and "ammunition"
Those who have watched games from the stands of the organized fans have realized that we are talking about a real arsenal as all kinds of lethal objects and "ammunitions" are distributed from hand to hand. From gas guns, knives, daggers, axes, hammers, wrenches, flare pistols, smoke bombs, to cans with petrol and other flammable materials for the preparation of molotov cocktails.
The question arises about how the hooligans entered the stadium with "ammunition" without being noticed either by the police or by the guards, but the results show that security in the stadiums and the control at the entrance is, to say the least ,only a formality. There are four main weaknesses facilitating the introduction of "ammunition" in the stadiums:
1. Inadequate (or no) control by the police and the security guards at the entrances and around the stadiums. Furthermore, the remuneration of the guards is paid by the organization of the host team, and as a result they often pretend they do not see what is happening in the stadium.
2. Distraction through simultaneous entry from two or more entrances aimed at disconcerting the police forces and creating "dead spots" in the security.
3. In cooperation and coordination with some "hotheads" from the football headquarters, either on the eve of the match or a few hours before the first whistle.
4. Through fans (for the most part, women!) or even through people who are beyond all suspicion who enter the stadium from the VIP-entrance, where there is no control.
In any case, even if it is not possible to take in "ammunition", very often bullies make their improvised weapons by breaking and taking away anything that can be used against the enemy (marble, cement, iron, plexiglass, fire extinguishers, seats, etc.).
Equipment also from abroad