The Champions League qualifier between AEK Athens and Dinamo Zagreb, scheduled for Tuesday, has been tragically postponed.
On Monday evening, chaos erupted on the streets of the Greek capital, leading to the death of a 22-year-old Greek supporter.
The 22-year-old man was transported from the stadium in the suburbs to an Athens hospital where he died, according to police.
The violent clashes took place outside AEK’s Agia Sophia Stadium in a northern suburb of Athens, casting a dark shadow over the usually joyous atmosphere surrounding football matches.
Reports indicate that the violence stemmed from clashes between rival fans from AEK Athens and Dinamo Zagreb.
The confrontation escalated to a devastating extent, resulting in the stabbing of one fan who tragically succumbed to his injuries.
In addition to the loss of life, eight others were injured in the clashes, and a shocking 98 arrests were made by the police.
The situation escalated to such a degree that UEFA, European football’s governing body, was forced to take action.
Prior to the tragedy, UEFA had already banned visiting supporters from attending both legs of the third-round qualifying tie due to security concerns.
However, in the aftermath of the violent clashes, in conjunction with local authorities, UEFA decided to postpone the match.
In an official statement, UEFA expressed its deep regret over the appalling incidents that transpired in Athens.
The organization reiterated its stance that violence has no place in the world of sports and called for swift justice for those responsible for the tragic act.
While the return leg of the qualifier in Croatia is set to proceed as planned on Tuesday, August 15, the match in Athens has been rescheduled.
The game will now take place either on Friday, August 18, or Saturday, August 19.
The Greek police have launched a preliminary investigation into the incident and are working to identify the individuals responsible for the violence.
The tragic incident casts a harsh light on the issue of hooliganism that has marred Greek football in recent years. Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time such violence has led to a fatality in Greece.
Just last year, the government responded to a similar tragedy by increasing the maximum sentence for crimes related to fan violence.
In February 2022, a 19-year-old supporter named Alkis Kampanos was fatally stabbed during a clash between fans of rival clubs Aris and PAOK in Thessaloniki.
The perpetrators were subsequently sentenced to life in prison for his murder, with others also receiving lengthy sentences for their involvement.