Soccer fans in Greece will need cell phones to buy tickets in government crackdown on violence

Mon, Jan 29, 2024
Soccer News (AP)

Soccer fans in Greece will need cell phones to buy tickets in government crackdown on violence

ATHENS, Greece (AP) - Soccer fans in Greece will have to use a state-run digital identification app on their cell phones to buy tickets for games when a security ban on supporters expires next month.

The measure is part of a crackdown on sports-related violence that forced soccer clubs to close stadiums to fans for two months through Feb. 12. It was ordered after a police officer was shot with a flare during a fan riot in Athens last month and later died in the hospital from his injuries.

Greek Sports Minister Yiannis Vroutsis is due to present details of the new ticketing rules to a parliamentary committee later Monday. He outlined the reforms in an interview with state-run television over the weekend.

"So far, we have not been able to do something that's obvious: To identify people who are entering a stadium," the minister said. "With the help of a mobile phone, a person's ID can be automatically cross-checked with a ticket. Anyone without a cell phone won't get into the stadium."

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Government officials say the new ticket system will resemble electronic boarding passes used at airports.

Other measures planned by the center-right government include spot bans of supporters at stadiums following violent incidents, the mandatory installation of surveillance cameras at stadiums, and a national registry of members of soccer supporters' clubs.

The state-run digital ID application for cell phones was launched in 2022.

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