O L Y M P I A C O S   1 9 2 5
O L Y M P I A C O S   1 9 2 5
Press release

Press release

Press release by Olympiacos FC.

OLYMPIAKOS FC unwaveringly maintains a firm stance against any form of violence, which it confirms in deeds, not words. In this context, all initiatives aimed at eliminating any extreme behavior from stadiums are welcome and we hope they will be effective. But for this to happen, an initiative should be sufficiently justified and ruled by seriousness. After the recent tragic event and injury of the unfortunate Policeman, for whom the entire Olympiacos family hopes to emerge victorious in his critical battle, measures were announced (once again…) by the Greek Government to deal with the phenomenon of sports fan violence.

On the occasion of the relevant Act of Legislative Content and the J.M.D. issued by the Minister of Citizen Protection Mr. Economou, Deputy Minister of Citizen Protection Mr. Katsafados and Minister of Sports Mr. Vroutsis , pursuant to which entry of our fans as well as those of visiting team of FK Backa Topola in the G. Karaiskakis stadium is prohibited in tomorrow’s Europa League match, and because of recurring questions we receive from our fans and UEFA regarding the conditions for holding the match, we publicly request the Greek Government and relevant Ministers, Mr. K. Vroutsis, Economou and Katsafados, a clear answer to the following questions:

1. OLYMPIAKOS FC has not been sanctioned by UEFA nor by any disciplinary body to hold this match without fans. Nevertheless, it will be the first time in the history of European competitions that a team will compete in a European match suffering a spectator ban by means of an Act of Legislative Content and a Ministerial Decision of Mr. Economou (Minister of Citizen Protection), Katsafados (Deputy Minister of Citizen Protection) and Vroutsis (Deputy Minister of Sports).

Since no sane person involved in football and none of the UEFA officials with whom we discuss on carrying out conduct of the match understands the rationale governing this decision, we ask you to publicly explain the reasoning behind it so that it can be understood by everyone. Silence cannot be taken as an answer but as admitting that there is no explanation.

2. Apart from Olympiacos fans who are inexplicably forced not to enter the stands, it is several days ago that the visiting team of Backa Topola received tickets to provide their fans traveling to Greece. In fact, some of them fans are in our country already. These people have spent enough money to watch the game and suddenly no one can explain to them why they will be left out of the stadium. Who will compensate these people and by what process?

3. At the same time as our match, a few kilometers away from the Karaiskaki stadium, the match between Panathinaikos and Maccabi Haifa is taking place as scheduled and with fans filling the stands. The Israeli club supporters, undisturbed, will also attend this match. That is, the fans of Panathinaikos and the fans who have come to Greece from a country at war may smoothly watch their team’s match without being considered to be in danger from anything and for any reason, while our team’s fans and those who have come from Serbia cannot enter the stadium.

Is there any explanation for this made-to-measure victimization of OLYMPIACOS football team when, on top of it, the unfortunate incident took place in another stadium and during a different discipline’s event!? Is there an explanation why Greek citizens cannot attend a European football match of their team because they are fans of the OLYMPIACOS football team? But they are the same fans in all sports! Does the Government treat Olympiacos fans as citizens with limited rights?

4. Yesterday at the “Melina Merkouri” indoor stadium, a few meters from the place where the horrific incident happened when this unfortunate police officer got injured, which led to the Government taking measures, a volleyball match of the Olympiacos team took place for the Men’s Champions League. The match was duly carried out with hundreds of our team’s fans attending. Coming Friday (15.12.2023), the Olympiacos versus Valencia Euroleague basketball match shall be held (next to an empty Karaiskaki stadium tomorrow), with thousands of our team’s fans attending.

However, the football match shall be played with no fans!!! The same people who went to “Melina Merkouri” yesterday and will go to the SEF basketball court the day after tomorrow, are considered dangerous by the Greek Government if they find themselves at the Karaiskaki stadium tomorrow, as if depending on the sport they watch they display different characteristics.

Both ourselves in OLYMPIACOS FC and the thousands of our fans who are excluded from our team’s match, we are all asking to find out who will do the screening and by what criteria?

5. Government decisions allow up to ten (10) representatives of each team (Members of the Management or Executives) to enter the stands of the stadium. However, you say nothing about what will happen to the commercial areas (suites, restaurants) that have no contact with the stadium stands. What will happen with these premises? What will the people who have leased stadium suites out and use them even for business purposes? Are they allowed access? Yes or no? Has anyone from the Government thought about the people who work in these premises and will lose their wage with no one being able to explain to them why? Is there an answer to this? It is only in totalitarian regimes that workers are forbidden to go to work, and businesses get closed down with no reason!

Both we and all our sports fans – citizens of this country who, with no explanation whatsoever, suffer this discriminatory treatment, expect those who took these decisions, i.e. the Prime Minister and involved Ministers, to justify and explain them.

All in all, OLYMPIACOS FC will consider every legal means to protect our fans and our team against these decisions.

The only ones from whom we do expect no explanation are the Piraeus-elected MPs, who remain deafeningly silent. Let them not bother in the future to associate their name with Olympiacos: their attitude will be considered – and will be – hypocritical. Especially, Deputy Minister Mr. Katsafados, who gets elected by the people of Piraeus, embarrasses and insults, on a daily basis, all OLYMPIAKOS people by means of his statements and actions.

We invite you to immediately answer the above questions so that we stopped getting smeared across the world. We urge you to immediately undo your unfair and unreasonable decision for tomorrow’s crucial European match of our team.

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