Soccer supporters’ clubs will be suspended for five months and sentences for fans’ violence will be increased thus without parole, Greece announced on Monday as part of a crackdown triggered by the murder of a 19-year-old man who was stabbed and beaten to death by soccer hooligans in the northern city of Thessaloniki beginning of the month.
A series of provisions creating a stricter legal framework for dealing with sports fan violence were presented on Monday by the ministers of Justice, Citizen Protection and Sports.
The new measures include tougher jail terms and sentencing guidelines for organized sport related violence.
Soccer supporters’ clubs will be closed until July 31, 2022.
The government’s legislative initiatives aim to close all the “windows” within the existing legal framework, Justice Minister Costas Tsiaras said during the presentation.
The legislative measures against fans violence include among others:
- the sentence for crimes of fan violence is being increased from six months to five years. In cases involving dangerous [?] perpetrators, a sentence between two and five years will be imposed.
- a special criminal offense is being introduced for those who cover their facial features during a sports match; it will be punished with a prison sentence of at least six months.
- It will be prohibited to suspending a sentence for crimes of fan violence is prohibited.
- sports violence cases will be tried as a matter of priority. In case of trial postponement, the imposition of restrictive conditions will become mandatory.
“The Feb. 1 murder of Thessaloniki resident Alkis Kambanos “has shocked the city and soccer fans nationwide ‒ in a country that has struggled to tame sport related violence and corruption for decades,” the Associated Press noted.
Twelve people have been arrested in connection with the attack.
The Greek government is determined to show “zero tolerance” to all violence and abusive behavior, the ministers said.
The new measures will require parliamentary approval but are likely to receive broad political support beyond the government’s comfortable majority.