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Fans riot after Volos thrown out of Greek league

HDN | 8/24/2011 12:00:00 AM |

Rioting football fans attacked offices of Greece’s governing party and clashed with police in the central town of Volos on Tuesday after the local team and fellow first division club Kavala were thrown out of all professional leagues over a match-fixing scandal.

Rioting football fans attacked offices of Greece’s governing party and clashed with police in the central town of Volos on Tuesday after the local team and fellow first division club Kavala were thrown out of all professional leagues over a match-fixing scandal.

Police said some 3,000 Volos supporters marched through the city center, setting rubbish bins on fire and throwing stones at the offices of the Socialist Party and a local Socialist lawmaker.

Riot officers guarding the buildings were also attacked, and fired tear gas to disperse the crowd. There were no immediate reports of arrests or injuries.

Earlier, the sports ministry’s Commission for Professional Sport said it would not issue the necessary permit for Volos and Kavala to play in Greece’s three professional leagues — four days before the opening of the new season.

A commission announcement said there had been no “substantial change” in the ownership of the provincial clubs, whose chairmen have been banned for life from football after being charged with match-fixing and money laundering.

There was no announcement on who would replace Volos and Kavala in the 16-team first division.

Earlier this month, the two clubs had won an appeal against their relegation by the Greek Football Association over the scandal.

“We are all determined to end violence and corruption in Greek football,” Pavlos Geroulanos, a minister responsible for sport, said Tuesday. “Today’s decisions are a sign of that determination ... We will use every tool at our disposal.” More than 60 club officials, players, businessmen and others are under investigation in a Greek corruption probe, launched after UEFA gave authorities a report citing irregular betting patterns, mostly involving Greek Cup and second division games in 2009 and 2010. Ten people are in custody.

Greece has sought emergency assistance in dealing with football corruption from UEFA, whose chairman Michel Platini discussed the issue with Prime Minister George Papandreou during talks in Athens last month.

The scandal emerged with Greece battling a major financial crisis, forcing authorities to promise to take a tougher line against corruption by public officials and prominent businessmen.

Volos finished in fifth place last season, but was kicked out of the Europa League by UEFA over the scandal. Kavala came seventh.

Several European countries are investigating match-fixing and betting scandals, including Italy and Turkey.

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