PM Chairs Meeting Regarding Sports Related Violence

    Prime Minister George Papandreou chaired a government meeting on Thursday.  The meeting focused on the latest incidents of sports-related violence in Greece.  He was briefed on the issues and apparently demanded swift action that will end conflicts in Greek sports, especially football.
    Reporting on the meeting, sources stressed the government’s determination to put an end to the violence and stressed that the football federation EPO was responsible for ensuring that championships were conducted without problems.
    The government intends to demand that EPO operate within a framework where Greek sports law is fully in line with UEFA rules. Otherwise, officials warned, it will forego public funding for the next season’s championship and soccer clubs will be denied use of public stadiums. Additionally,  the championship will not be covered by state television.
    The same officials revealed that investigations into corruption in sports were being stepped up, with the government convinced that this was a major issue that was linked to sports violence, involving incidents of money-laundering, tax evasion and fixed games.
    Another possibility laid on the table if EPO fails to deliver is direct government intervention in the running of Greek football.
    Concerning the games next Sunday, the government intends to let these take place but only if all the bodies involved will guarantee that they can take place without incidents and if the police are prepared to guarantee that they can control the crowds safely.
    For the championship play-offs, the state’s only option is to postpone these for up to 20 days.
    Thorny issues are the games scheduled for May 11th and May 15th, since the first of those dates coincides with a planned general strike.  On May 15th, the AEK-PAOK play off match coincides with the basketball cup final match between arch-rivals Olympiakos and Panathinaikos.
    (source: ana-mpa)


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