FIFA to investigate Greek fans laser use

BRUSSELS - FIFA opened disciplinary proceedings against Greece on Tuesday over allegations their fans tried to distract Israel goalkeeper Dudu Aouate with laser beams during last week's World Cup qualifier.

"We are aware of the reports and we have started disciplinary proceedings," a FIFA spokesman told Reuters.

Greece won the match 2-1 in Heraklion last Wednesday thanks to a second-half penalty by Giorgios Samaras.

Football's world governing body said it was probing reports that local fans aimed the infra-red beams at Aouate as he was preparing to face the penalty that kept Greece top of Group Two and damaged Israel's chances of qualification.

"I certainly was blinded during the penalty but it did not affect me not stopping it," Aouate told Israeli army radio.

The Israel goalkeeper had dived to his left while the penalty went in to the right.

"In the first half I was being blinded and I alerted the referee. In the second half they (the fans with the laser) moved from one end of the stadium to the other so that they could continue to blind me."


The FIFA spokesman said Greece were warned in October after laser beams were used by their fans during their qualifier against Switzerland.

The Swiss won the game 2-1, but the distracting beams were directed at striker Alexander Frei as he was taking a penalty for Switzerland's opening goal.

If found guilty a second time, Greece will most likely face stiffer punishment by FIFA, the spokesman said, which could be a hefty fine, deduction of points or having to play future games behind closed doors.

"We have not been officially informed by FIFA over this," a Greek FA official told Reuters. Another official said the FA was aware of Israeli media reports on the issue.

Israel FA spokesman Gil Levanoni said his organisation was "awaiting the outcome of FIFA'S investigation but we are not getting involved in the matter at this time."