- Kontonis Halts SuperLeague Start -
The Greek SuperLeague will officially begin in September. The Deputy Minister of Athletics, Stavros Kontonis, announced that the league will not begin before September 5th due to security reasons. The decision comes after EPO announced the referees for the new season and replaced the judges of the Ethics Committee with other judges of their choice.
Earlier last week, the Hellenic Football Federation (EPO) announced the list of referees for the 2016-2017 SuperLeague season. The decision came without consulting the SuperLeague, despite EPO’s agreement that a representative of the Super League must be present when the Central Arbitration Committee (KED) compiled the list of referees for the season. EPO announced the referees claiming that the SuperLeague representative (Dimitris Saraidaris) was present at the KED meeting and agreed with the list. However, Saraidaris made it known that he was not present nor did he know of this meeting. This sparked Giorgios Girtzikis’ reaction (President of EPO), saying that Saraidaris was a liar.
In addition to EPO’s illegal decision of the referees for the 2016-2017 season, the federation replaced the judges of the Ethics Committee with other judges of their choice. This occurred also without consulting Kontonis, who was in Brazil for the 2016 Olympic Games.
These chain of events caused an uproar from the Deputy Minister of Athletics, Stavros Kontonis, and the “anti-corruption alliance”, PAOK, Panathinaikos, and AEK. The three clubs announced that they WILL NOT partake in the league, stating that the arbitration system (and federation) is corrupt and must change. Kontonis then announced that the league will not start with the current federation in place, asking for their resignation. With the EPO elections set to take place in October, Kontonis requested an interim administration until then. Many members of the current EPO administration, including the President Giorgios Girtzikis, are under investigation for corruption and financial felonies. Kontonis feels that this corrupt administration cannot continue to hold their current positions while facing investigation for numerous charges. Kontonis sent letters to UEFA and FIFA writing that the league will not start with this administration in charge of the Hellenic Football Federation.
As expected, earlier today Kontonis officially announced that the SuperLeague cannot begin under the current conditions and circumstances. With the backing of the special Violence Response Commission (DEAV) and Hellenic Police, Kontonis postponed the start of the Superleague due to risk of violence, public disorder, and security reasons. In his announcement Kontonis stated “The extremely high tensions that have arised right before the start of the SuperLeague season between the federation, the organizing body (SuperLeague), and many teams, along with the sporting public’s opacity to the conditions of the SuperLeague’s start, poses a serious risks to public order and safety, since it is exceedingly probable that the slightest provocation can spark widespread violent behaviors.”
Furthermore, Kontonis halted the SuperLeague start until September 5th, which means the first two matchdays will be postponed. With the current situation, the league will start on September 10th due to the international break (Friendlies and World Cup qualifying) that will be held at the beginning of September.
Reactions are expected from FIFA, UEFA, the federation, and the big four teams within the coming hours and days...