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Fan dies in Greece after clashes between rival supporters. UEFA postpones Champions League qualifier


NEA PHILADELPHIA, Greece (AP) — A 29-year-old Greek fan has died after overnight clashes between rival supporters in Athens, with European governing soccer body UEFA announcing it has postponed a Champions League qualifying game scheduled for Tuesday because of the violence.

After the fan's death, Greek authorities had requested that all supporters should be excluded from the match between AEK Athens and Croatia's Dinamo Zagreb at the Opap Arena.

Dinamo fans were officially already excluded under a previous ruling by UEFA.

Eight fans were injured in the clashes outside AEK's stadium while Greek police said Tuesday they had made 88 arrests, mostly of Croatian supporters.

UEFA says what was going to be the second leg in Zagreb next Wednesday will now be the first leg. The second leg will be held in Athens on Friday 18th or Saturday 19th.

“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,” it said in a 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.

“Following yesterday’s violence and in consultation with the local authorities, UEFA has decided that the conditions for the match between AEK Athens FC and GNK Dinamo to go ahead tonight are not met.”

UEFA and Greek authorities had anticipated problems in the Greek capital city with back-to-back nights of Champions League qualifying games involving visiting fans with a reputation for disorder.

As a result, UEFA had requested that no tickets should be sold to visiting fans for both the AEK-Dinamo game on Tuesday and the Panathinaikos-Marseille match on Wednesday.

Croatian media reports said that some 200 fans had traveled to Athens, likely as ordinary tourists, despite the soccer ban.

Dinamo has a far right fan group, which calls itself the Bad Blue Boys.

The clashes came in the week before Manchester City and Sevilla fans come to Athens for the UEFA Super Cup game -- the traditional season-opener between the title holders of the Champions League and Europa League. The game is being played at the Olympiakos stadium near the port city of Piraeus.

The AEK Athens stadium also will host a UEFA showpiece game this season -- the final of the third-tier Europa Conference League next May.


AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer


AP Sports Writer Graham Dunbar in Geneva and AP Writer Dusan Stojanovic in Belgrade, Serbia, contributed to this report.