West Ham fans travelling to Greece will be subject to intense police protection ahead of their clash with Olympiacos.
The Hammers last European campaign didn’t go without drama but it’s the host’s shenanigans that have resulted in the East London side being forced to have extra protection.
Olympiacos’ last match against Panathinaikos was abandoned after an opposition player was hit by a firecracker. This sadly resulted in Juankar being taken to hospital.
As a result, West Ham fans will be forced to travel to and from the Karaiskakis stadium via a compulsory coach convoy which departs/ends at the Panathenaic stadium over three hours before the Europa League game kicks off. This will also involve a police escort. They will then be put through a full body search before being allowed entry.
Once inside the stadium, the Cockneys will be met with a barricade of police around them to protect them from the home fans. Finally, away fans will be locked in the ground for a further 30 minutes before being put back on coaches.
Despite the obvious dangers, UEFA have decided that both Olympiacos and Panathinaikos will play at home on the same day. Four sets of fans mixing in Athens could, inevitably, cause some issues but the police are clearly doing their best to prevent this.
They are tough measures but, with our previous ‘issues’ in Europe, fans should stick to these measures. Especially when it comes to making their way to the stadium as, if these rules and restrictions aren’t followed, the police have warned they may deny entry to the stadium.
By Charlie Bass