The 2023 Greek Cup Final could be set to be played outside of the Mediterranean country due to concerns over fan safety. According to the Daily Mail, the Greek Football Association is apparently frantically searching for a venue to host the game. AEK Athens and PAOK will feature in the match after advancing through the knockout stages.
The two clubs have a long contentious history, as the matchup is referred to as the Double-Headed Eagles Derby. This is a reference to the teams use of a double-headed eagle as their emblems. AEK’s logo features the eagle in yellow and black. PAOK, on the other hand, have the emblem in traditional black and white colors.
PAOK president previously interrupted match with gun
In one of the derby’s most infamous incidents, PAOK club president Ivan Savvidis ran on to the pitch with a gun during a 2018 matchup. Savvidis was apparently furious after Fernando Varela’s goal was disallowed late in the game. The fixture was eventually abandoned after the AEK players refused to continue play as they feared for their safety.
Police were then involved a year later during the 2019 Greek Cup Final. The cops used batons on disruptive fans near of the stadium. PAOK went on to win the trophy. However, the match was played behind closed doors to prevent any incidents inside the stadium.
Crystal Palace chairman open to hosting Greek Cup Final
Despite concerns, the Sun has claimed that Crystal Palace chairman Steve Parish is receptive to hosting the fixture at his club’s arena. Selhurst Park is located in south London and has a maximum capacity of just over 25,000 fans. The Eagles have three games remaining on their schedule, two of these will be at home.
Nevertheless, the upcoming Greek Cup Final would not interfere with Palace’s current home fixture list. The AEK-PAOK matchup is set for May 24. The Premier League side’s final two home games are on May 13 and May 28.
Another option could be to play the game behind closed doors. Cyprus turned down hosting duties with public safety in mind. Then, reports emerged the game may be simply without supporters in attendance.
PHOTO: IMAGO / Action Plus
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