Greece’s Supreme Court has put out a circular asking for swift trials and stiffer penalties on football hooligans who commit sports-related crimes. Meanwhile, a Thessaloniki policeman claimed in a radio interview that there is high-level police corruption in Greece which allows the very weapons hooligans use to be brought into football stadiums on team buses.
While clashes between football hooligans of rival teams have been a regular occurrence in the past decade, the phenomenon has escalated in the last two years.
The same evening, hours before the stabbing of the young man, the perpetrator and his accomplices had been involved in a beating after a volleyball match.
Incredibly, the 23-year-old murderer had been already charged with a stabbing in a related incident in 2019, but that case has not been tried yet.
The Supreme Court circular
This led Deputy Supreme Court Prosecutor Zacharias Kokkinakis to issue the circular demanding that perpetrators of sports-related crimes be tried within 30 days of their arrest.
The same circular also stated that when there are several perpetrators involved in a sports violence incident they should be investigated on whether their acts constitute the forming of a criminal organization.
In addition, the prosecutor asks that such sentences should not be suspended on appeal.
Further, he asks for the investigation of football fan club premises that may operate illegally, “sheltering” criminals who use the football fan identity as a shield for their criminal activities.
The circular says that groups of particularly dangerous perpetrators of violent crimes use the fan club premises as strongholds and for the concealment of weapons.
Police raids on football fan clubs
On Thursday, the Hellenic Police raided 13 football fan club properties in Thessaloniki and found billy clubs, brass knuckles, knives and other weapons that are often used in football hooligan fights.
Two men — aged 36 and 43 — were arrested during the raids and released pending trial on Friday after appearing before a criminal court.
Policeman claims team buses carry hooligans’ weapons into stadiums
A Thessaloniki police officer claims that there is corruption in the force, charging that the buses transporting the teams themselves are carrying bags full of weapons that football hooligans use.
Speaking anonymously to interviewers from the Metropolis radio station in Thessaloniki, and without naming the team, the officer said that he witnessed the bags of weapons going to the locker room:
“I was present at an incident when I had orders to escort the team to the locker room. Once there, three fans came in and picked up the bags, while we had orders not to react…
“These are orders we receive from above, because when the higher-ups stop working for the police, they are hired in good posts by the football club…
“This is the absolute truth. It has happened to me many times while on duty. Inside the bags, along with the water bottles, there were smoke bombs and flare guns.”
Lawyer Alexis Kougias, who represents the family of the 19-year-old victim of football violence, spoke on ANT1 TV on Saturday, saying:
“They sent me a photo and I was shocked. I saw for the first time the alleged killer of Alkis (Kampanos). Next to him is the son of a senior police officer of the Thessaloniki Department of Sports Violence. I will bring this photo to the attention of the investigator.”