Friday Frappé: Never short of flares
In this week’s edition of Friday Frappé, AGONAsport’s Peter Katsiris discusses whether or not it’s time for Greek football to put the flares away…
Greek football has never been short of flares. Some of the most iconic pictures from the Greek top flight features the smoky lights of flares in the stands. Whether it’s at the cauldron that is the Toumba Stadium, Olympiacos’ Georgios Karaiskakis, or the deafening OAKA on a derby night, flares have long played a big part in helping to electrify the atmosphere
It might not be the most important issue considering everything that appears to be wrong with the Greek game, but after another lengthy delay during last weekend’s clash between Olympiacos and PAOK perhaps it finally is time to put away the flares.
To clarify, the images might be stunning and certainly intimidating to away teams and their supporters but the atmosphere that is so electric in Greek stadiums has a lot more to do with the people in the stands than the flares they’re holding.
The passion that these fans, or ultras as some like to be referred to, doesn’t boil down to how many flares they light or how much smoke is let off from these flares. In fact, the smoke becomes rather annoying and takes away from the game as we saw on Sunday at Karaiskaki. The lack of visibility because flares can actually take away from the momentum of the game while also making it rather difficult for viewers at home.
So, while there have been some great photo ops at some of the cathedrals of Greek football over the years, perhaps it’s time to reconsider the policy on flares and other superficial props Greek fans use while attending games – not to mention lasers!
by Peter Katsiris