Greek Soccer Goes Digital to Combat Fan Violence

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In a major shift to improve safety, Greece has banned paper tickets for all league soccer matches. This move aims to crack down on the longstanding issue of fan violence that has plagued the sport.

Under the new rules, fans can only enter stadiums using their smartphones to display a government-issued QR code. This code allows for identification and enforcement of attendance bans for troublemakers.

The decision comes after a two-month closure of stadiums for spectators. This closure allowed for security measures to be overhauled following the tragic death of a police officer struck by a flare during a riot in December.

Starting now, fans must purchase tickets online and verify their purchases through a government app used for taxes and online services. There will be a one-month grace period for the complete phase-out of paper tickets.

Dimitris Papastergiou, the Minister for Digital Governance, emphasized that exceptions will be made for minors and seniors. He also stated that the electronic ticketing system will be expanded to other sporting events after the summer.

"This is not just about security," Papastergiou explained to state-run ERT television. "It will also free up hundreds of police officers who would have been needed at stadium entrances."

The Minister added that a significant portion of season ticket holders (10,000 out of 80,000) have already transitioned to the new digital system.

Copyright Greekcitytimes 2024