Greek Football League Suspended Over Match-FixingJune 6, 2011 9:07 am
Greece’s Football Association has moved to suspend the country’s professional game over claims of match-fixing and violence.
What initially started out as a probe by UEFA, (European football’s governing body) into irregular betting patterns during the 2009 and 2010 domestic season has now lead to the Greek FA suspending all activities while various reforms are considered.
The 15-day lockout period fortunately takes place during Greece’s off-season which lasts until the end of August. In addition, the FA has okay-ed the friendly match between Greece and Ecuador scheduled for June 7th in New York.
In the meantime, seven people have been charged with betting on fixed matches, while another eight suspects are currently under investigation after each winning over €15,000 ($22,000) from the state-controlled football pools.
This follows the relegation of north Greek club Iraklis after discrepancies in its finances were uncovered.
As well as corruption, consistent violence has also plagued the domestic Greek Football scene leading to the extraordinary suspension decision.
For instance, on April 30th at the Greek Cup final between AEK Athens and underdogs Atromito, AEK hooligans invaded the pitch and attacked opposing supporters despite their team being 3-0 ahead.
Hellenic Football Federation (EPO) President Sofoklis Pilavios announced news of the suspension on Friday after EPO delegates approved the move by a 49 to 7 margin.
Commenting on the drastic decision taken by the EPO, Pilavios stated:
“We are facing a very major problem of violence. We have a choice to make: Do we want football in the hands of hooligans, violence, and match-fixers, forgers, and liars? A game with deals made under the table, exploited by politicians, a game of violence and threats? Or do we want a game based on strong institutions and rules and strong moral grounding?”