Greek sports minister says government ready to make “difficult decisions”

Greek sports minister says government ready to make “difficult decisions”

Greece’s minister for sport and culture said on Sunday that the government is prepared to “make difficult decisions” with the advice of UEFA amid reports that the SuperLeague could be postponed in the aftermath of the controversially cancelled derby clash between PAOK and AEK.

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More shameful scenes overshadowed Greek football at the Toumba stadium in Thessaloniki as the big match was cancelled in chaos after a two-hour delay with the home side awarded a 1-0 win.

“The scenes we have seen today will hurt first of all the supporters of PAOK and the entire sporting community; “Images of major protagonists walking onto the field of play with weapons visible is something which threatens to take the sport back many years,” said the 38-year-old in a media statement.

According to sportfm’s Aris Asvestas, who spoke with a high official in the Greek government, the government is considering postponing the Superleague for the time being. According to Asvestas, that is the “lightest” option on the table right now from the government. 

Match referee Georgios Kominis and both sets of players left the field after mayhem broke out when he appeared to have ruled out a goal scored by PAOK’s Fernando Varela in the last minute of normal time.

Unbelievable scenes followed with PAOK owner Ivan Savvidis entering the pitch at one stage with a gun visibly strapped to his belt to protest before being ushered away, while players and officials from both teams got involved in an ugly brawl as the match officials tried to get things under control.

It was not made clear if the goal had stood, with even the Greek television channel Nova covering the game in the dark about whether or not the goal had stood in what turned into a complete farce.

Both sets of players, as well as Kominis and his assistants, left the field and did not return as the match was later officially cancelled and awarded to PAOK as a 1-0 win after more than two hours of discussions between all parties. 

“Such extreme phenomena require courageous and difficult decisions,” added Vasiliadis.

“We have begun a huge effort to try and clean up football against some powerful opponents and incumbents, and this year, for the first time in many years we have seen a really exciting and fair championship.” 

Vasiliadis concluded definitely: “We will not allow anyone to divert us from our goal, even if we need to make difficult decisions in consultation with UEFA.”

by Graham Wood
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