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40 charged following fatal stabbing of Greek fan ahead of Champions League game | Football News

Greek prosecutors on Saturday filed charges against 40 individuals in connection with the tragic stabbing incident that claimed the life of a football supporter in Athens prior to a Champions League match. The indicted individuals have been remanded in custody, bringing the total charged to 70. This fresh charges supplement the 30 filed on the previous day, marking the initiation of the investigation into the violent clashes that erupted between supporters of Croatia’s Dinamo Zagreb and Greece’s AEK Athens on Monday. The confrontation led to the unfortunate demise of 29-year-old Michalis Katsouris, who succumbed to injuries sustained during the brawl.

Football fans, most of them from Croatia, cover their faces while leaving the Athens Police Headquarters in Athens(AFP)
Football fans, most of them from Croatia, cover their faces while leaving the Athens Police Headquarters in Athens(AFP)

In response to the tragedy, UEFA rescheduled the third-round qualifier match between the two teams to August 19. Approximately 100 arrests were made, primarily linked to Dinamo’s extremist ‘Bad Blue Boys’ supporters.

Among the 30 individuals charged on Friday, a dozen, including 10 Croatians, an Albanian, and a Greek, were placed in custody.

In light of Katsouris’s death, Greece’s Minister for Citizen Protection, Yannis Oikonomou, took action by suspending seven police officers for failing to ensure adequate security measures at the scene.

This incident has struck a nerve in a nation familiar with football-related violence. Last year, the fatal stabbing of teenager Alkis Kampanos in a clash between supporters of rival clubs Aris Thessaloniki and PAOK prompted the government to increase the maximum sentence for fan violence to five years from six months.

Amidst heightened security measures at the border, supporters of AEK and Dinamo have been barred from traveling for the forthcoming matches between the clubs. This includes the qualifier in Athens on August 19 and the subsequent leg in Zagreb.

Recent events led to the arrest of seven Romanian fans attempting to cross the border between Greece and Bulgaria with knives. They were subsequently handed suspended prison terms and fines for their actions. In light of these incidents, the football community is grappling with the need for heightened security measures.

(With agency inputs)

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