- FIFA/UEFA Side with Kontonis, EPO Still Not Backing Down -
Representatives of FIFA and UEFA have been in Greece over the last couple of days and have clearly sided with Stavros Kontonis regarding the many issues that surround Greek Football and the current Hellenic Football Federation (EPO). On the other end, EPO continued their provocative actions without any of their representatives resigning from their positions.
FIFA representative, Kostakis Koutsokoumnis, along with 2 others from UEFA and FIFA had a series of meetings on Monday and Tuesday to “fix” the problems surrounding Greek Football, with hopes of getting the SuperLeague underway on September 10th. After Monday’s meetings, the Cypriot representative stated that FIFA and UEFA agree with Deputy Minister of Athletics, Stavros Kontonis, against the current members of the Hellenic Football federation (EPO) on the many issues that separate the two sides. Never has the governing body of football (FIFA) publicly disregard the current Football Federation of a country to side with that country’s government.
Today at 11:00 AM local time, Koutsokoumnis, EPO and the representatives of the SuperLeague teams were scheduled to meet and discuss the “referee list” for the upcoming season. This has also been a hot topic of concern for many teams, including the anti-corruption alliance of Panathinaikos, AEK, and PAOK. THIRTY MINUTES before the meeting, the President of EPO, Giorgos Girtzikis, sent out an announcement stating that the meeting was canceled. The decision and timing of the announcement angered both the representatives of FIFA/UEFA and the SuperLeague teams. Girtzikis later stated that the meeting was canceled to avoid “war” between FIFA/UEFA and the teams. Excuses to say the least…
After the decision, Koutsokoumnis said “Under the statutes and regulations we cannot meet if the Federation is not present. Sorry about how things developed, but we must operate according to our regulations.” He further stated that he has a plan and will work with Kontonis to get the SuperLeague underway on September 10th.
Later in the day, all ears were on the EPO's Board of Directors meeting. Professor of Constitutional Law Nikos Alivizatos demanded that the current members facing felony charges on the “Health Cards” Case resign from their positions, otherwise the State has every legal right to declare the whole Board of Directors in default. Substitute President Vangelis Topoliatis and Vice President Vangelis Mazarakis resigned from their positions, but did not resign from EPO’s Board of Directors. On the other hand, Girtzikis stated “I will go to every extent possible to keep my position as President of the Federation.”
At the EPO’s Board of Director’s meeting, the issue of the Ethic Committee was resolved, however nothing was announced regarding the “referee list” for the upcoming season. Additionally, the members facing felony charges did not resign from EPO which was demanded by the Greek Justice system. With EPO’s non-compliance on these two matters, Kontonis announced that the Greek SuperLeague will not start until these issues are resolved and the laws are abided by.
There is one final meeting schedule for tomorrow before the representatives of FIFA and UEFA depart from Greece. After two days of meetings, FIFA/UEFA have clearly sided with Kontonis and will have to take matters in their own hands to get Kontonis’ approval for the start of the SuperLeague season. With the September 9th date approaching (the date the justice system has the right to remove all the Board of Directors of EPO), EPO’s fighting days are slowly coming to an end.