Fans riot after Volos thrown out of Greek league

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.