Greece suspends league after knife fight

Reuters - Sat, 29 May 18:46:00 2010

Greece indefinitely postponed its handball championships on Saturday after 11 people and several police were injured in clashes between rival fans in the host city of Lamia.

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Police said a total of 13 arrests had been made and a further 20 people were being held for questioning following fighting early Saturday morning which lasted over an hour.

The trouble began when around 150 fans of PAOK Salonika arrived in Lamia on buses to attend the final four cup competition and headed straight for the local fan club of rival team AEK Athens.

They entered the premises, according to police, and attacked AEK fans, before pelting the building with petrol bombs, stones and flares.

"Following proposals from the police and the Greek handball federation, the general secretary for sport, Panagiotis Bitsaxis, has decided to postpone the final four tournament indefinitely due to the depressing riots and fighting which took place between PAOK and AEK fans," the government said in a statement.

A total of 11 handball supporters were hospitalised after the fighting, including three AEK fans with knife wounds, one of whom was said to be in serious condition. Three policemen were also admitted with minor injuries.

Four retail stores were damaged during the clashes.

"These are unprecedented events in our city," Lamia mayor George Kotronias told Greek radio. "Organized groups of PAOK and AEK fans have clashed. The police could not control the situation even though they gave permission for the fans to come."


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