Heavy security measures have been announced by Greek police for Saturday’s Greek Cup final between Panathinaikos and PAOK at the Athens Olympic Stadium.
Mass gatherings have been banned in central Athens and more than 4,000 police officers will be placed around the capital and at the stadium in order to keep the peace between the rival supporters.
The measures were taken with the approval of the government, the Greek football federation and the clubs coming after the violent Greek Cup semi-final second leg in Thessaloniki between PAOK and Olympiakos.
Some 22,000 PAOK supporters will arrive from the northern Greek city of Thessaloniki with hundreds of coaches that will be accompanied by a police escort.
At the stadium barbed wire fences have been placed in order to keep supporters from storming the pitch, a frequent event at Greek matches and which occurred during the 2010 final between Panathinaikos and Aris at the same venue.
Spectators arriving at the stadium will go through three controls and checked in order to confiscate objects such as flares which might be thrown on the pitch.
Panathinaikos and PAOK fans will enter the stadium from separate gates and under police protection.
PAOK issued an announcement Thursday calling on their fans who will travel with their own means to Athens to use public transport and not wear team symbols.
“We kindly also ask friends of PAK not to carry flares, firecrackers and other prohibited items, and do not attempt to enter the pitch at the end of the match, and do not bring banners of provocative, insulting or racist nature,” the PAOK announcement said.