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Panathinaikos vs. Olympiakos match postponed in violent scenes

A flare lands on the pitch during the crowd trouble.

ATHENS, Greece -- The Greek league match between Panathinaikos and archrivals Olympiakos was postponed on Saturday after home fans clashed with police before the game and threw flares at Olympiakos players as they walked out onto the pitch.

Clashes between Panathinaikos fans and police started outside the venue about two hours before the game when fans, apparently without tickets, attempted to storm the gates and threw rocks at the police.

Referee Andreas Pappas waited half an hour beyond the scheduled kickoff but eventually decided that the conditions were unsafe.

Collisions between police and fans continued inside the ground until it was evacuated about an hour after the referee decided not to start the match. Journalists were also set upon.

The empty field was littered with hundreds of broken plastic chairs and a few metal pipes.

A flare thrown from the stands hit Olympiakos forward Alfred Finnbogason in the leg. The Iceland international, on loan to Olympiakos from Real Sociedad, was filming the clashes with his phone.

Olympiakos officials said he suffered mild burns and was spared a worse injury because he, like his fellow players, had not taken off his tracksuit. Defender Luka Milivojevic was also injured, the team announced.

The club has hotly contested the referee's decision to call off the match, while condemning the violence. Club chairman Yiannis Alafouzos issued a statement late on Saturday saying he will submit his resignation to an emergency meeting of the club's board Sunday.

"I intend to submit my resignation. I will propose to the board to consider whether Panathinaikos should continue to participate in the league," Alafouzos, one of Greece's major media moguls, said.

Fans throw missiles on the pitch during the trouble.

Earlier, the club had issued a statement blaming "the individual action of 2-3 fools" for throwing the flares, but also the referee whose "entirely mistaken and irresponsible decision" to abort the game led to the violence, according to the club.

Panathinaikos will likely forfeit the game and, depending on the referee's report, it could also be docked points, fined and made to play a number of home games behind closed doors.

Olympiakos finally left the central Athens stadium two hours after the game was cancelled, as police made sure nearby streets were safe.

No Olympiakos fans attended the game. It is standard policy in the violence-plagued Greek league not to allow visiting fans to attend.

"Over 50 persons were detained inside and outside the stadium ... so far, 16 have been charged" with various offences, police announced, adding that three policemen had been injured in the clashes.

Olympiakos lead the league with a 100 percent record after 10 matches, with Panathinaikos eight points behind and third-place Asteras, 1-0 winner overs Atromitos Saturday, a further point adrift with an extra game played. Also on Saturday, Giannena beat Kalloni 2-1.

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