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Police out in force for visiting fans > Champions League security April 21, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Basketball, Football.

Every police officer in Attica and some from other parts of the country will be on duty in Athens for soccer’s Champions League final and basketball’s Euroleague Final Four next month, organizers said yesterday, as they warned fans from abroad not to travel to Greece without match tickets.

In security plans unveiled by Public Order Minister Vyron Polydoras and Police Chief Anastassios Dimoschakis, all of the 18,000 policemen who serve in Attica will take part in an operation designed to ensure there is no violence between supporters attending the Final Four on May 4 and 6 and the Champions League final on May 23.

The security levels for the two events will be similar to those seen in Athens during the Olympic Games of 2004. Efforts will be coordinated from the control center at the Olympic Stadium complex (OAKA), where the basketball and soccer matches will be held. CCTV cameras will also be activated.

Greek police officers are due to travel next week to England and Italy to discuss policing tactics with their counterparts. Three of the teams in the Champions League semifinals, Manchester United, Liverpool and Chelsea, are from England and one is from Italy, AC Milan.

The Olympic Stadium will have a capacity of 63,800 for the final, which is the biggest game in European club soccer and is watched by more than 200 million people on TV.

Each finalist will receive around 17,000 tickets to sell to its fans but there is concern that some of the remaining tickets could be sold on the black market.

Liaison officers will be working with authorities from abroad to try to ensure that known hooligans are not allowed to travel to Greece. Police in Athens are particularly worried about the presence of an estimated 15,000 fans who will travel without match tickets.

“We call on fans who have no tickets not to travel to Greece,” said Dimoschakis. “Our checks will start at the airports and fans’ countries of origin. We will strictly control the use of alcohol… and our aim is for opposing fans not to meet.”

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