The Soap Opera
Greek Football finds itself in a precarious position at the moment, not on the field but in the courts of Athens and Thessaloniki after the incidents of 3 matches (for now).
The two biggest cases are that of the Olympiacos – AEK match and the much talked about PAOK – Olympiacos match. Olympiacos (OSFP) are also involved in a case against PAOK for incidents that took part in the PAS Giannina – PAOK match on the 4th of February in which PAOK fans caused havoc with the local team and stadium, but this case is the least “important” of the three.
The first case of the Olympiacos riots with police, creating a fire in the ground and throwing flares after their defeat to AEK at the Karaiskakis stadium, is at least nearly there. Olympiacos received a fine and forced to play the next two games behind closed doors (already did against Panionios and this weekend against Panathinaikos). However, they were also handed a 3-point deduction, which the Reds have appealed, and this is where the case has continued to be adjourned twice. The last one, on Friday 2nd of March, was due to the two OSFP lawyers not being present at the hearing. Ironically, one had a doctor's appointment and the other due to personal circumstances.
This case will be heard on Monday 5th of March. On paper, it does not look like Olympiacos have a particularly strong case and it is expected they will be deducted the 3 points originally handed to them.
The second and biggest Soap Opera is around the PAOK – Olympiacos game which took some key turns in yesterday's (March 2nd) hearing in Greece. The initial reports pointed to some key factors. Firstly, the catalyst to all this is the fan that threw the register roll of paper on Olympiacos coach Oscar Garcia, he has since been arrested and charged. Where it gets complicated is everything that follows from there and especially the match reports of Alexandros Aretopoulos, the official referee of the match.
At first, the big question was around the match sheet declaring Garcia on the bench or not. Initial reports said OSFP had handed in a sheet which had Christos Kontis as the head coach and this is true. However, where the lines get muddy is here: OSFP claim to have fixed this error and handed in a new sheet which did declare Garcia as coach. This change comes from Aretopoulos, whose match report at the recent hearing looks somewhat different to the vague report first made at Toumba.
After seeing this, PAOK requested the hearing to be put on hold, but this was not granted and instead, a recess of half an hour to review the new report by Aretopoulos was given. Both parties agreed to this.
When the hearing resumed, the attention turned to Garcia's injury. The scenario is as follows: After getting hit by the role, Garcia and OSFP doctors took the Spaniard into the OSFP changing rooms and did not allow the official doctor of the game to see Garcia, PAOK's lawyers claim this 15 minutes were used to fabricate Garcia's injury and since then, we have seen pictures on the internet of a cut lip.
However, the complication grows. The official doctor of the match, approved by the Greek Football Federation (EPO), is a PAOK affiliate which OSFP naturally feel uncomfortable with. Either way, being the official doctor, he finally had a chance to examine Garcia and said Garcia can continue as his injuries were not as bad as first thought.
Aretopoulos’ report is vague here and does not spell this out in black and white terms, as such during this incident, Olympiacos took Garcia to the hospital on their own terms at the time, and to a hospital of their choice. However, before Olympiacos could proceed to this, PAOK called in a coroner to speak to Garcia's injuries. The coroner is under the impression no serious injury could come of this as it would have needed outside skin to break to reach that point, which it didn’t.
The judge then informed both sides that they would have to file statements with their analytical positions and return on Monday at 10am for a final decision.
Based on the report by referee Aretopoulos, it looks like PAOK will be punished for the injuries Garcia received, however how the other factors are taken into account remains to be seen. Nonetheless, it does not look good for PAOK.