The first leg of Dinamo Zagreb’s Champions League qualifier against AEK which was scheduled to take place tonight in Athens has been postponed by UEFA after a violent clash between fans.
One Greek fan was killed, whilst 8 fans, including five Croatians, were seriously injured after violent clashes broke out between the two sets of fans last night near the stadium.
Police made 98 arrests, (82 of whom are Croatian nationals).
After a series of meetings on Tuesday, European football’s governing body UEFA made the decision to postpone tonight’s match. The first leg will now take place at Maksimir stadium in Zagreb on 15 August, with the second leg in Athens to be played on 19 August.
Both matches will be played without away fans.
UEFA had earlier banned away fans from both legs of this match but it did not stop a group of Dinamo Zagreb fans making the trip to Athens.
Dinamo Zagreb made a statement earlier, condoning the behaviour of the fans.
“GNK Dinamo strongly condemns the disturbances that occurred in Athens last night, where according to reports from Greek police, as well as Greek and Croatian media, individuals from Croatia were involved in an incident with fans of the Greek football club AEK. Such events are not in line with the values and ethics that we promote as a club and community.
As a sports organisation, we are always committed to promoting fair play, sportsmanship, and a positive atmosphere within stadiums. Unrest not only jeopardises the safety of all those present but also undermines the reputation of football as a sport that unites people and cultures.
We express our deep concern over this incident. Regrettably, one person lost their life during the unrest. GNK Dinamo extends its heartfelt condolences to the family of the deceased individual. Once again, we emphasize and call upon all Dinamo fans not to travel to the match in Greece, as UEFA, in coordination with the police, has decided that both matches will be played without visiting supporters. GNK Dinamo remains committed to creating an environment where love for the sport is expressed in a positive manner, through unity, respect, and collaboration,” the statement read.
🇬🇷🇭🇷 | AEK – Dinamo Zagreb!— Balkan Futbolu (@BalkanFutbolu) August 8, 2023
📌 Karşılaşma deplasman taraftarına yasak olmasına rağmen Bad Blue Boys grubu Atina’daydı. Çıkan olaylarda 22 yaşında bir AEK taraftarı bıçaklanarak hayatını kaybetti. Çok sayıda yaralı ve gözaltı var. @ArkaBesliForumpic.twitter.com/FlTNu1rvQK
The clash between AEK Athens and Dinamo Zagreb was eagerly anticipated as both teams prepared to compete in the prestigious Champions League tournament. However, the violence that erupted among a fraction of their respective supporters has now cast a shadow over the sporting occasion.
Local authorities and football governing bodies should strive to prevent such incidents in the future, fostering an environment where fans can enjoy the excitement of the game without fear for their safety.