An Insight Into the Odisseas Vlachodimos Situation
Earlier this week, the promising news Greek football fans were desperately waiting to hear broke through, but there have been more developments have since then and it is now clear what needs to be done in order for Odisseas Vlachodimos to represent the Ethniki Omada over Germany.
Due to its complexity, talk has been rife for some time as the 24 year old goalkeeper has played for Germany at every possible youth level. As a result, it is now known that the EPO must await clearance from governing bodies UEFA and FIFA but in the meantime they can speak to the German Football Federation to examine whether or not he is in their future plans to begin with. Greece coach Michael Skibbe does not need to call him up or wait for clearance to do this. If he is deemed to be surplus to requirements, the picture would become a whole lot clearer.
It is a mystery as to why it took so long for the EPO or Skibbe to make any sort of contact with Vlachodimos after he enjoyed 2 outstanding seasons between the sticks at Panathinaikos. He has since taken his game to a new level and made himself known on the continental stage at Benfica in the UEFA Champions League. He is now being tracked by world football giants in the form of Bayern Munich and several English clubs such as Manchester United.
However, contact was made albeit later than many hoped. Vlachodimos had always given the impression he would be keen to represent Greece over Germany if given the chance and this was only reinforced in Skibbe’s press conference earlier this week where the coach revealed Vlachodimos “would have no problem playing for Greece”. This is also in line with an earlier interview of Vlachodimos where the player himself stated that he “is Greek, lives in Greece (at the time) and goes to the army” for compulsory military service. He went on to say it is an “aim” to play Greece and he did not feel right when he played for Germany in a game against Cyprus and heard the Greek national anthem being sung by the opposing team.
If the two Federations cannot reach a compromise, the issue undoubtedly gets messier to the point where legal action may be required but the Vlachodimos’ intentions should be put at the forefront. By his previous words, he would jump at the chance to play for Greece.
More recent reports suggest that we may see Vlachodimos in the Ethniki Omada set up sooner rather than later as FIFA is expected to allow him to represent Greece. This could even be by the time the next international break comes around.
Only procedural things remain, with Vlachodimos needing to send a formal letter to the EPO confirming huis desire to play for Greece. The EPO must then send this letter to FIFA, who in turn would contact the Germans and inform them of the player’s decision. This process should be completed by November, meaning that there is a strong chance Vlachodimos would be eligible for selection.
The ball will soon clearly lay in Vlachodimos’ court.
by Nick Tsambouniaris
Image Source: gazzetta.gr