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Marko Lukunic/PIXSELL/Sipa USA/AP

A view of the OPAP Arena before a Dinamo Zagreb training session in Athens, Greece, ahead of the third qualifying round of the UEFA Champions League game between AEK Athens and Dinamo Zagreb.



CNN
 — 

A Champions League match in Greece has been postponed after a fan died during a brawl with supporters of Croatian club Dinamo Zagreb, European soccer’s governing body UEFA said on Tuesday.

The Greek football fan died on Monday night in Athens after he was “injured by a sharp object,” Greek police told CNN.

The police said they arrested 98 people, including 87 Croats and five Greeks.

According to Greek state broadcaster ERT, the victim is a 29-year-old AEK supporter. Eight other people were injured in the brawl, including a minor with a stone wound to the head, per ERT.

The Greek state broadcaster reported that a group of 150-200 organized Dinamo fans entered Greece in several cars, despite a ban on the movement of fans from Croatia ahead of the game.

Clashes followed between the fans of the two teams, who used improvised incendiary devices and bats, sharp objects and stones, the police said.

Greek authorities announced on Tuesday that it has launched an internal investigation following the violent clashes.

“I would like to express my sincere condolences to the relatives of the young man who lost his life unjustifiably,” Greek Minister of Citizen Protection Giannis Oikonomou said on Tuesday.

Oikonomou said that seven high-ranking police officers have been removed, including the head of the sub-directorate for combating violence in sports venues, following the incident and as the probe is ongoing. He warned more officers could be removed as a result of the events.

“As for the fact of Dinamo Zagreb fans crossing the Greek border, their journey in Greece and their eventual arrival at the scene of the event, I will not mince my words,” added Oikonomou, calling the event “unacceptable” and saying that the police “failed” to prevent and deter the events.

The incident happened in the Nea Filadelfeia neighborhood in the outskirts of Athens, home of the AEK Athens football club’s home stadium, where the Champions League qualifying match between AEK and Dinamo Zagreb had been due to take place on Tuesday.

UEFA said that the “conditions for the match” to go ahead “are not met” following consultation with local authorities, resulting in the game’s postponement.

“UEFA deplores in the strongest possible terms the appalling incidents that took place in Athens last night and resulted in the loss of a life,” European football’s governing body said in statement.

“While expressing our deepest sympathy to the family of the victim, to AEK Athens FC and its fans, we would like to reiterate that violence has no place in our sport and we expect that those responsible for this terrible act be arrested and consigned to justice in the shortest delay,” added UEFA.

The first-leg match will now be played on either Friday, August 18 or Saturday, August 19, with the originally scheduled second leg in the team’s Champions League qualification tie taking place next week in Zagreb as planned, with UEFA reiterating that no away fans would be permitted at either of the two games.

UEFA added that the UEFA Super Cup final – a match between Manchester City and Sevilla – due to take place on August 16 at Georgios Karaiskakis stadium in Piraeus will be played as scheduled.

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