Croatian media: "Dinamo hooligans planned the attack in Athens for years"

Dinamo

The last time Dinamo Zagreb was in Greece for an official event was in November 2015, when Olympiacos won 2-1. Still, that match was also marred by incidents on the eve of the game, which, according to Croatian media, were the reason for the violence that took place on Monday.

The murderous rampage outside the OPAP Arena, otherwise known as Hagia Sophia Stadium, led to the death of a 29-year-old AEK fan and left many more injured.

"In the various fan forums, there is information that the Bad Blue Boys (including organised Dinamo fans) have been planning this attack for years and more specifically since 2015 after what they suffered in Athens," a Croatian media report says.

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Eight years ago (and when the movement of fans was not allowed), Dinamo (which are friends with Panathinaikos), but also fans of Red Star (which are friends with those of Olympiacos), were found in Athens.

The most severe incident recorded was the attack of a motorcade against a taxi carrying four Croats. The motorbikes blocked the road, broke a 29-year-old AEK fan's death and the cab's windows, and threw a smoke grenade at the Croats, and the driver managed to get out and flee.

For the Dinamo hooligans, it was not the opposing team that attacked them that mattered, but the location, and they wanted to make their show in the same city to "restore" their wounded prestige. And they did it by taking human life...

However, the Croatian media openly blames the Dinamo fans for their actions in Athens, stressing that they hurt their team and the country and asking for their exemplary punishment. However, they also launch harsh accusations against the Greek police.

"This information can't exist in fan forums; there can't b videos of the convoy of vehicles that crossed half of Greece and did nothing at all," as their outlets highlighted.

Tuesday's Champions League qualifier between AEK Athens and Dinamo Zagreb has been postponed after a fan was stabbed to death following brawls outside the Agia Sophia Stadium in a northern suburb of Athens on Monday evening.

Police said eight others were injured, and 98 arrests were made.

Uefa had banned visiting supporters from both legs of the third-round qualifying tie over security concerns.

European football's governing body said the trouble meant the match had to be postponed, with the decision made in consultation with the local authorities.

"Uefa deplores in the strongest possible terms the appalling incidents that took place in Athens last night and resulted in the loss of a life," Uefa said.

"While expressing our deepest sympathy to the family of the victim, to AEK Athens FC and its fans, we would like to reiterate that violence has no place in our sport, and we expect that those responsible for this terrible act be arrested and consigned to justice in the shortest delay."

The return leg in Croatia will go ahead as planned next Tuesday,15 August, with the game in Athens to be rearranged for Friday, 18 August or Saturday, 19 August.

Greek police said the trouble started 90 minutes after Croatian side Dinamo had completed a pre-match training session at the stadium in Nea Philadelphia and left under police escort.

100-120, Dinamo fans came to the stadium and clashed with AEK fans who had gathered there.

Fans from both sides "threw flares, improvised incendiary devices, objects, stones, and also used improvised bats".

Police said a preliminary investigation had started, and they were trying to identify the perpetrators.

"GNK Dinamo strongly condemns the riots that took place last night in Athens," a Dinamo Zagreb statement said.

"Such events do not align with the values ​​and ethics we promote as a club and community.

"We are very concerned about this incident. GNK Dinamo would like to express its sincere condolences to the deceased's family."

Hooliganism has marred Greek football in recent years, and last year, the government increased the maximum sentence for crimes of fan violence from six months to five years after another fatal stabbing.

Alkis Kampanos, 19, was killed in February 2022 in Thessaloniki during a fight between the city's rival clubs, Aris and PAOK supporters.

Last month, seven defendants were found guilty of his murder and sentenced to life in prison. Five others received sentences of more than 19 years for complicity.

READ MORE: ATHENS: Mourning for the 22-year-old AEK fan murdered by Dinamo-PAO hooligans.

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