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Greek Football Fans Attack Russian Journalists Covering Spartak Game

PAOK Stadium/ Tilemahos Efthimiadis/ Flickr

A group of Russian journalists were reportedly the target of attacks by Greek football fans at a European championship game in northern Greece.

Thessaloniki’s PAOK FC beat Spartak Moscow 3-2 at a  Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) Champions League qualifier on Wednesday evening. UEFA had banned Russian fans from attending the game for setting off fireworks and other crowd disturbances at an earlier game.

Before kick-off, a group of around 15 Greek fans broke into the press box at Toumba Stadium in Thessaloniki and assaulted a group of Russian journalists, the Sport-express.ru website reported.

“I have never seen this in football,” Sport-express.ru reporter Dmitry Zelenov said on video, adding that Greek fans had broken his phone in an effort to reach the press box.

https://twitter.com/OnooQ/status/1027244174259757056

Zelenov accused stewards at the stadium of not providing adequate security, writing on Twitter that “the stewards and police are really afraid” of the fans.

PAOK’s social media team tweeted that security intervened in the incident after a Russian journalist made a gesture at the crowd.

Championat.com journalist Dmitry Yegorov disputed the account.

In another video address, Yegorov said fans threatened the journalists, rifled through their backpacks and seized any property with Spartak insignia.

The journalists eventually made it out of the stadium, Yegorov said.

Yegorov called out UEFA earlier in the day for ignoring an incident where Greek fans allegedly injured two Russian fans.

Official UEFA accounts had not yet weighed in on the alleged incident at Toumba Stadium by Thursday afternoon.

PAOK is scheduled to play the second leg of the UEFA Champions League qualifier in Moscow on Tuesday.

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