Greek PM revokes decision to allow fans to attend matches

ATHENS • Greek Prime Minister (PM) Kyriakos Mitsotakis (picture) yesterday revoked a decision taken by government health officials to allow a limited number of spectators to attend football matches this week.

The change was made due to the rising number of coronavirus cases in Europe, a government announcement said.

The PM said allowing the presence of even a small number of fans at football games “sends the wrong message to the citizens, at a time when all congregation should be avoided and the health measures must be strictly followed”.

On Monday, Greek health authorities gave the green light for a limited number of football supporters to be allowed to attend matches this week, albeit under strict rules.

Spectators had been banned since March at the start of the coronavirus outbreak in the country.

The first match that would have allowed a maximum of 3,500 spectators or 10% of the capacity of the stadium was scheduled for Thursday (Malaysia time) when Olympiakos host French side Marseille for their UEFA Champions League group stage contest at the Karaiskaki Stadium in Piraeus, near Athens.

The Europa League group stage game between PAOK Thessaloniki and Omonia Nicosia on Fri- day, in addition to one or two Super League matches this weekend, would also have seen fans attend.

The health authorities viewed the matches as a test to see whether gates should be allowed to open for other games in the future.

UEFA had given the green light for matches to be held with spectators under strict health regulations and subject to the approval of that country’s government. — AFP