- West Ham fans will receive extra police protection for their trip to Greece
- This comes after Olympiacos’ most recent league game was abandoned
- Listen to the latest episode of Mail Sport’s podcast It’s All Kicking Off!
West Ham fans travelling to Greece for Thursday’s Europa League match at Olympiacos will be wrapped in a protective police cocoon — after their opponents’ latest home game was abandoned when a visiting player was hit by a firecracker.
Olympiacos warmed up for the fixture with David Moyes’ side by hosting Panathinaikos on Sunday in the so-called Derby of the Eternal Enemies, but the match was halted early in the second half after Panathinaikos defender Juankar was struck while warming up on the touchline.
The Spaniard was taken off on a stretcher and reportedly went to hospital.
West Ham supporters are being warned they can only get to Olympiacos’s Karaiskakis Stadium via a compulsory coach convoy — complete with a police escort — meeting at the Panathenaic Stadium more than three hours before kick-off.
Police in Athens say these protocols are in place for their own safety and have warned that anyone who does not use the coaches risks being turned away from the arena.
West Ham fans travelling to see their side play Olympiacos will receive extra police protection
Olympiacos’ most recent game was abandoned after a player was reportedly hit by a missile
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Supporters are also set to be subjected to rigorous body searches and locked inside the away end for 30 minutes after full-time, before being returned to the Panathenaic Stadium via their appointed transport.
In what could be a problematic move, UEFA have allowed Olympiacos and Panathinaikos to both play at home in the Europa League on Thursday, with the latter hosting Rennes approximately seven miles away. It means fans of four different football teams will descend on Athens this week.
West Ham are also aware of the possibility of laser pointers being directed at their players. Greek supporters were accused of shining lights at opponents during last week’s 1-0 loss to the Netherlands at the OPAP Arena in Athens.
West Ham will be looking to bounce back from Sunday’s comprehensive defeat at Aston Villa