Athens many known as the center of European protest, where anti-fascists and anarchists are a major political force. Even the word "anarchy" is of Greek origin. Greece is also very popular football, and formed many fans' groups supporting anti-fascist ideas. Here we will talk about one of the projects of the left movement in Athens, aimed at forming a new football culture without the influence of nationalists and big capital.
- Tell us how was founded Antifa League of Athens.
- Antifa League was created as an athletic-political movement at the end of 2012 by a small group of people from the wider anarchist – antiauthoritarian movement who love sports and especially football. The concept was the creation of football league (full season) with antifascist mission. The tournament is taking place in different, each matchday, Athenian neighborhood. Since the beginning the main goal was to spread the antifascists ideas & actions to the society through sports and entertainment.
- How on tribune relate sexism? Do you have a girl on tribunes?
- Sexism does not exist in our ideology, of course women are allow to play at antifa league, but unfortunately till now there is small participation, as football is not that popular female sport. We hope that we can change that too.
- What professional teams do you cooperate? Can Asteras Exarchia?
- Asteras Exarchion is not a professional team. We invited Asteras once at the play offs last year at the end of te season, to play as a guest team along with the Autonomous football club from Patras city. We are against modern football so every official football Club/Company (Fcs) is not desired nor welcome. For this reason, We do not wish to cooperate with professional teams. The only contact we had was the cooperation with some Antifascist Fans of Panathinaikos. The cooperation with them came up as they were interested in organizing with us the the first round of the 1st Antifa league play offs last year. The common ground for the cooperation was the promotion of the antifascist message to the society and not the football team of Panathinaikos.
- Tell us about your city of Athens. What football traditions in your city?
- We like our city but we fall in love with her while she is on flames!
There is a football tradition in Athens, football is quite popular to all ages but unfortunately is not so often spread at the streets, parks etc
- What are your political views?
- We are anarchists, antifascists and antiauthoritarians.
- Where does the money to fund the League?
- It is a self-organized league thereby we all contribute from our own pockets. In each match there is a donation box where, if you feel like it, you can support the league economically. When we have more money than we need for the league we discuss and we decide to which political cause the extra money will go.
- What do you think about the commercial football? As the economic crisis has hit the Greek football?
- We do not care if the rotten system of greek football is crushed by economic crisis. On the other hand even in hard economic crisis, where people do not have the basic to survive, we cannot ignore that there still are corrupted rich businessmen owning the biggest professional Fcs. We are fighting in order to construct a new society build on the ruins of the current one and thereby a new football that has nothing to do with the today’s football.
- Are there many in Greece at the moment fascist fans? Were there to attack you?
- There are small groups of fascists fans but they lack of power to create any problems or attacking us. There have been rare fascists attacks especially after games of greek national football team.
- Tell about Greece ultras-scene. What is the ratio of right side and left side on the terrace? How often do you have a fight?
- In greece there are a lot of hooligans fights and in general a lot of violence in and out of the field among the fans of different Fc's in which some times can reach murder. For us the enemy is not the color or flag/symbol of a team but the state & capitalism. We are sure that the state benefits from that kind of hooliganism by using the specific violence between the fans to control & manipulate the rage of the lower social classes and on the other hand to distract people from the real, state caused, problems. In that way they persuade the people to accept more police brutality in order to be secured. In a stadium you can find antifascists and fascists, leftwing and rightwing fans.
As you know the fascist ideas flourish in greece during the last years due to the economic crisis and that is visible to football stadiums too. Even though there is an apolitical image on the majority of football teams, lately there are many antifascist and radical banners to many matches.
- In Greece have strict laws for the fans and footbal club? Are there any fights with the cops? Do I need to have permission to open the league?
- There is increasing repression. In addition to that there are continuous fights between fans and the police. We do not ask for any permission to use anything because anything is already owned by the people.
We are inspired by the slogan «to take our lifes back on our hands».
- What is your relationship with radical fans united ?
- We have no cooperation with radical fans. We have different concept without ultras characteristics even though the rfu movement is seen as a positive step and from time to time there are articles for the Antifa League on their website.
- How much is a ticket to the game? You pay for the rent of the field?
- No money fee is needed to any part of the Antifa League Athens. We do not rent the fields as we are using public spaces where we re-occupy them and use them in order to give life to the neibourhood.
- Do you cooperate with other social projects?
- In some cases we organize Antifa league matchdays with antifascist movements, squats & social centers. Each team every time is responsible for organizing an antifa League matchday once on their neighborhood and in addition to that the team can organize various antifascist- anti capitalistic-anti state or even entertaining actions at the same time with the football matches. There are always music, flyers and texts with political content given to the people coming to the league. Other parallel acts might be collective kitchen, exchange bazars, live music (if not live there is always music playing nonstop), graffiti, stencil workshop and everything else the team which host the antifa league matchday can imagine. The only certain thing is the fact of a table full of oranges and fruit juices!
- How many clubs playing in your league? How do you make a new team in the tournament?
- Antifa League is a full season league/championship (everyone plays one time with everyone, 3 points the victory, 1 the draw and 0 the loss) and not a cup tournament where knockout matches take place during one or two days. In the
1st Antifa League Athens 9 teams were participating, thereby 9 matcdays (4 games in each matchday plus one team having repo/rest). At the end of the season we have the play offs with another extra 2 days (2 knockout rounds in two continious days. The 1st round we had 4 matches (1vs8, 2vs7, 3vs6, 4vs5) and the winers passes to the 2nd round with the semifinals and the final.
This year Antifa League contains 13 teams, and we are at the start of the season at matchday 6 this sunday (9/3/14)taking place at the egaleo neighborhood organized by the team Zapatero utd.
The teams that are interested in participating to antifa league have to apply their registration through email for a one month period before the beginning of the league. After that, an assembly is taking place with all the registered teams present in order to confirm and make sure that all the teams will follow the project with responsibility and seriously according the characteristics and the philosophy of the league till the end of the season.
- What you give prizes winners of the tournament?
- In Ántifa League we are sure for one thing, competition has no place to our league and we really do not like shiny and expensive prizes. The «prize», for all the participants, is the actual/active process taking place during the games, informing the society and spreading our ideas & relationships that have been created through the cooperative athletism and the joy these acts offer to us. The struggle against fascism is the most important prize for us. Even though the teams have a lot of ideas about prizes always with a sense of humor, the only prize so far is the opportunity we have for teasing and fun. The Antifa League banner was the prize last year. The 1st Antifa
League, even if it was experimental, it was pretty successful. The teams realized along with the fans the concept of Antifa League and they really supported it.
- Are there other cities in Greece similar initiatives? Maybe in Patras, Thessaloniki?
- There is no such thing as Antifa League to any other city or elsewhere in the world as far as we know. There are antifascist cup tournaments to other greek cities which last for 2 days maximum.
- How do you feel about alcohol and marijuana?
- We are not against alcohol and marijuana but we are against over consumption. We decided that no alcohol should be given during the matches but fresh orange juice seeing this as a symbolic act. Also, we think there is no point in giving alcohol on the noon and at the same time trying to promote sports in neighborhoods full of children. On the other hand, everybody believing to the cause of our league is free to do as she/he wish.
- What do you think about the murder of Pavlos Fyssas?
- We wrote about this his statement. Read below
"Crush the fascists to each and every Neighbourhood
Pavlos Fyssas – Killah p was murdered by bloody golden dawn murderers in front and with the covering of the greek police on the 18th of September day Wednesday 2013, for one more time the murderers acted without any disturbance but along with the police participation. Pavlos were victimize as an enemy of nazis because of his messages through his songs and because of his general attitude towards fascism.
Fascist actions are covered up with common meals for «greeks only» & stupid PR tricks while at the same time fascist actions include beatings, knife attacks & murdering of immigrants, attacks against work labors & social activists. They are attacking everybody different to them, to everyone standing against the system of poverty & capitalistic brutality, to social centers & free places like squats & autonomous meeting points and they do that along with the official state in order to suppress all against the system activities.
Fascists go hand by hand with the official state, more into that relationship fascists support state where the state is unable to implement and deliver the targets of its far right political agenda.
Concentration camps, imprisonments, tortures & beatings inside the cells of democracy for the immigrants, wiping out social state and labor rights are not yet enough for the official state, on that point, neonazis are always there as a tool for the state to use, in order to put the knife even deeper until complete poverty and total enslavement to local and international capital. It is clear to us that every time democracy is unable to overcome & control the people, there is a «golden down» deep inside the very roots and soul of the state mechanisms ready to do the dirty job on its behalf.
Now after the political murder of Pavlos Fyssas and on a first reaction the government and state mechanisms trying to reduce the power of their fascist partners to manipulate and hide the truth from the mainstream voters. This time the state chooses to use golden dawn in order to weaken the antifascist movement and at the same time to control it by using the media to propagandize based on their interests and within their general strategy of the two extremes theory (fascists-antifascists), where everybody who is against their stupid system is either equal to fascists or a terrorist.
The aim of this ridiculous circus the local authorities set up offers to them both legally and publicly cover to proceed on their attack towards social resistance BY any mean possible. Their final target is the, by any mean, protection of the interests of the capital.
But they are planning without us. Their attacks will be responded by us, using any mean possible. We are not going to give up our lives for their unhuman strategies. Our weapons are self-organization, solidarity & our passion for freedom & equality. We will not stop fighting until all capitalistic, state and state’s mechanisms plans are vanished.
WE DO NOT FORGET – WE DO NOT FORGIVE
COMBATIVE ANTIFASCISM EVERYWHERE & FOREVER"
- Do you cooperate with anti-fascists from other countries?
- Not yet, but we would like to do so.
- How do you make a league management?
- Conversation & discussion is taking place with horizontal processes and with dialect & dialogue as our main tools.
- How do people learn about your league? You get unstuck ads?
- First of all there is an internet Blog (http://antifaleague.espivblogs.net/).
In each game we also create a poster for the walls of the city and promotion using the internet(blogs, social contrainfo media etc.
- How many people are there in the stands during games?
- About 150 and we are getting more & more every time.
- Do you cooperate with organizations of refugees and migrants?
- No we do not cooperate with organizations but we do cooperate with refugees and immigrants. More into that in this year’s Antifa League we have the honor of the participation of a refugee (African-mixed) football team.
- What do you know about russian fans?
- We do not know much about the fan scene in Russia (except some fights between hooligans fans) but we like you to inform us about the situation there.
- Say something in the end
- We like to spread the idea of Antifa League and give examples to other people to create such leagues and why not on a global scale. We would like you to tell us about you and the conditions in your country as far as fascism and antifascism concerns, and how that affects football.
The Antifa League Crew