- Title: GREECE: SOCCER - Champions League fans enter stadium under heavy security
- Date: 24th May 2007
- Summary: ATHENS, GREECE (MAY 23 2007) (REUTERS) ATHENS OLYMPIC STADIUM EXTERIOR
- Embargoed: 8th June 2007 12:25
- Location: Greece
- Country: Greece
- Topics: Sport
- Reuters ID: LVAD5Z7GU1MBR9E1U2174W1SDWKO
- Aspect Ratio: 4:3
- Story Text: Fans begin arriving at the heavily guarded Athens Olympic Stadium, site of the Champions League final, where police carry out extensive security checks and monitor for forged tickets. Liverpool and AC Milan fans began entering the Athens Olympic stadium complex after it opened its doors early on Wednesday (May 23), several hours before the Champions League final. Kiosks for both clubs have been set up inside the complex to entertain fans.
Police have fanned out across the vast complex both outside and inside the stadium grounds. Streets will be closed for one kilometre around the stadium just before the match.
Police carried out security checks on fans as they entered, asking fans to empty bags as they searched for prohibited items such as anything that could be used as a weapon or alcohol.
Each individual ticket was scanned to establish whether it was forged as each fan entered.
Police also frisked supporters and checked banners. Any banners with prejudiced or racist statements would not be allowed into the stadium, police said.
8,000 police officers have been assigned to security during the final, guarding the stadium and patrolling Athens streets.
UEFA issued 17,500 tickets to each fan club respectively for the final in the 63,800-seat stadium, and another 9,000 were sold to the public by ballot by the organization. It is believed more Liverpool or Milan fans will be in the stadium after finding tickets from scalpers in Athens.
A 28-year-old Briton was arrested for selling 50 forged tickets to an Italian travel agent for 58,000 euros ($78,030). The man had sold the tickets over two days on Monday (May 21) and Tuesday (May 22) before being arrested in central Syntagma Square, and was now facing charges of forgery and fraud, police said in a statement.
Two French men were also arrested as they tried to sell two tickets to a group of British fans on a central Athens street.
Police said they were charging 600 euros for each 140-euro ticket.
On Wednesday (May 23), Greek authorities announced they would place giant screens in a central park in Athens for fans to watch the match, after initially announcing screens would not be placed for security reasons. The announcement, distributed by the Greek Public Order Ministry, urged fans without tickets not to approach the stadium. Large numbers of fans, mainly from Liverpool, had been searching for a place to watch the game.
So far the atmosphere has been festive, without any serious incidents.
Two Britons were injured and taken to hospital after a fight broke out among Liverpool fans over a ticket for the final. Police said the injuries were not serious.
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