Curb thugs or season off, Greek govt warns

by AP on May 24, 2011

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The Greek government says the start of the topflight league next season is under threat unless football officials take decisive action to eradicate fan violence.

General secretary for sport Panos Bitsaxis says he is involved in discussions with the Greek football federation and league organisers to ensure matches are played "under civilised conditions."

Bitsaxis said on Monday if the talks are fruitless, the "championship cannot start".

Greece has been plagued for years by football violence despite repeated government pledges to crack down on troublemakers.

The Greek Cup final last month between AEK Athens and Atromitos was marred by extensive rioting after AEK fans invaded the pitch and fought with Atromitos players.