Greek Super League faces strike threat

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ATHENS, March 10 (Reuters) - The Greek Super League is facing the prospect of a players' strike this weekend in response to the growing number of cases of crowd violence.

The players' union (PSAP) announced its intention to strike on Tuesday and has gained support from 10 of the 16 Super League clubs as well as the backing of FIFpro, the international players' union.

"As far as the Super League is concerned the players are the central protagonists and they come first," a Super League spokesman said on Thursday.

"We are in constant contact with PSAP but at the moment there is nothing concrete either way. Based on the developments at the moment a strike is unlikely."

Violence inside and outside stadiums has been a constant problem for authorities this season.

The country's top clubs, Olympiakos Pireaus and Panathinaikos, have been punished with supporter-bans after ugly pitch invasions involving battles with police and attacks on players.

The country was left shocked on February 19 when hundreds of fans invaded the pitch following Olympiakos's tempestuous 2-1 win over Panathinaikos which took them 10 points clear of their local rivals in the standings with seven matches to play.

Olympiakos supporters threw punches and kicks at the visiting players and battled with police in what was the fourth pitch invasion in Greece this season.

Attacks by supporters on the Super League offices and the home of Olympiakos player Vasilis Torosidis followed.

Panathinaikos assigned bodyguards to several players as the fall-out continued from what has been dubbed the "derby of shame" by Greek media.