Croatia and Greece Decide No Away Fans for Upcoming World Cup Playoffs

Daniela Rogulj

The National Football Federations of Croatia and Greece have agreed that there will be no away fans for the World Cup playoffs next month.

As expected, the HNS leaders and their Greek counterparts agreed, with FIFA’s approval, that the World Cup playoffs between Croatia and Greece will not see visiting fans. The reason given by the federations is the threat to security and the history of poor relations between Croatian and Greek fan groups, the Croatian Football Federation and confirmed on October 26, 2017. 

This makes sense, however, as the Olympiacos fan group is known to have an alliance with Red Star Belgrade’s fan group “Delije”, their ultra-union band established as “Orthodox Brothers”.

You might remember the riots and attacks between Croatian and Greek fans at the last match between the two nations at this particular stadium back in 2011.

Just two years ago, Delije and Dinamo Zagreb’s fan group Bad Blue Boys also clashed at the Athen’s airport after the match between Olympiacos and Dinamo. While away fans were forbidden from attending, fans of Dinamo still traveled to Greece.

“The leaders of the Croatian Football Federation (HNS) and the Greek Football Federation (HFF) have reached an agreement today in Athens on the organization of the two matches for the European qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup 2018, according to which neither match will have organized away fans,” writes the official HNS website, before adding:

“Taking into account all risk factors and security assessments, the joint decision by the two national federations is that there will not be open stands for guest fans at the matches in Zagreb (November 9th) and in Piraeus (November 12th), and there will be no tickets for guest fans. FIFA, UEFA and other relevant authorities have been informed of the agreement.”

Unfortunately, despite these bans, we may not be able to avoid visiting fans in Zagreb and Piraeus – determined fans will, at the very least, find a way to travel. 

The first match between Croatia and Greece will be played in Zagreb on November 9, 2017, and the return match will be played in Piraeus at the Olympiacos stadium on November 12, 2017. 


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