Greek Soccer Faces World Ban

first_imgTweetPinShare0 Shares Soccer’s governing bodies say they will ban Greece from international competition after the government cancelled the championship because of violence.Deputy Sports Minister Stavros Kontonis said he won’t change his decision as the SYRIZA-led government cracks down on endless hooliganism. That could shut the Greek national team out of European and world play.FIFA and European governing body UEFA sent a letter to Greek authorities requesting they reinstate the Greek Cup by April 1 after the tournament was canceled by the government earlier this month because of crowd trouble at a match, Reuters said.A failure to meet the deadline could result in sanctions that include the suspension of the Greek federation, clubs blocked from playing in European club competitions and the national side also barred from international tournaments.“I hope it is understood that the Greek government has no intervention of altering the decision to cancel the Greek Cup competition due to its exhaustive efforts in trying to protect basic social rights such as public order and social peace,” Kontonis said in a letter to FIFA circulated to local media.“We declare yet again that the Greek government fully respects the self-governing function of sports federations and is not intervening in the administration, nor on issues related to sports,” he added.The competition was called off after the first leg of the semi-final between PAOK and Olympiakos on March 2 was stopped because of relentless crowd violence, a common occurrence in Greece.Kontonis said that the decision was not only but that the Hellenic Football Federation (EPO) didn’t even object to his decision.EPO has since appealed to the Council of State, which will hear the case on March 29. Kontonis said he would abide by its decision.“The cancellation of the Greek Cup is another preventive measure designed to protect public safety, which although is particularly serious, is not a punitive measure, and the law actually provides the further step of suspending or canceling the championship, if it is necessary,” Kontonis added.“We would like to stress that the government will fully respect the decision which will be made by the Supreme Court of the country…”Kontonis dimissed FIFA’s assertion his decision was “disproportionate” and that the state could have used less severe measures, such as playing matches behind closed doors or a temporary suspension, noting those measures have been used before but failed to stop violence.last_img read more

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