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Greek cops have come up with a colourful way to deal with rampaging ne'er-do-wells at tomorrow's Champions League final in Athens - paintball the blighters into submission.

The authorities expect around 50,000 Liverpool and AC Milan fans to descend on the capital for the epic struggle for European supremacy, The Scotsman reports. Some may choose to give this a miss and go to the match instead, in which case they'll be spared the deployment of the hoolie-busting paintball gun.

Police spokesman Panagiotis Stathis explained that the guns would only be used outside the Olympic stadium "in large open spaces, such as city squares and major roads". He elaborated: "The paintball guns will be one of the weapons the riot police will use in case of fan clashes. They have the double aim of stopping trouble because they are quite painful, as well as marking violent fans."

Any rampaging miscreant hit by a pellet and not cuffed on the spot will be suitably marked for later detention, although supporters' clubs have cried foul at the plan.

The treasurer of the West of Scotland Liverpool Supporters' Club, John Brown, came off the bench with: "I'm totally against this tactic. If they put enough police on duty there would be no need to even consider something like this. I've been paintballing and being hit by one of those pellets is like being punched and leaves a big bruise on your skin. It would be a lot worse for people getting hit on their bare skin."

Human rights lawyer John Scott, meanwhile, said "CCTV cameras should be used to identify troublemakers". ®

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