Super League future hanging in the balance

Super League future hanging in the balance

With the 2017/2018 Super League season hanging in the balance, deputy Greek Culture and Sports Minister George Vassiliadis has set out a number of conditions which would allow the championship to resume. However, not all clubs are in agreement.

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Following the debacle during the PAOK - AEK duel in Thessaloniki when the match was abandoned after the hosts had a late goal ruled off for offside, the Super League was indefinitely suspended by the Greek government. The main concern surrounded PAOK president Ivan Savvidis, who was photographed storing a gun around his waist when making a pitch invasion to protest against the referee’s decision. 

The scandal sent shockwaves across the football world. FIFA representative Herbert Hubel promptly travelled to Athens, discussing with the Hellenic Football Federation (EPO) how this situation can be resolved and the possibility of Greece being thrown out from FIFA and UEFA. In order to prevent Grexit from happening, the Greeks need to dish out the correct punishments and get the Super League back underway in the near future.

This week, deputy Greek Culture and Sports Minister Vassiliadis set out his four conditions which must be agreed upon by all Super League clubs:

  • In the event that during a competition fans cause violence and enter the pitch/changing rooms three times, or if a team is punished because of their fans’ violent behaviour four times, the club will have its Super League license withdrawn and will be relegated.
  • If team officials make statements which incite violence, either in the media or social media, the club will be punished.
  • Starting from next season, clubs will be solely responsible for safety inside their stadiums, meaning that the police will be moved out of stadiums.
  • The EPO’s Arbitration Court won’t be used as the third level of disciplinary offenses. 

Olympiacos immediately rejected the proposal, stating that these conditions do not help the problem of violence in Greek football.

AEL, Xanthi and Panathinaikos also initially refused to agree with the conditions, but AEL and Panathinaikos have since given their consent to Vassiliadis’ proposals. According to reports from the Greek media, Xanthi are willing to work with Vassiliadis, despite the club opposing the idea of a relegation punishment.

If there is a 15-1 result, with only Olympiacos not in agreement, it’s likely that Vassiliadis will give the go-ahead for the Super League to start again on March 31 after having a conversation with FIFA. As a result, the probability of Grexit is lowered, but FIFA still need to see that the right punishments and measures are being taken. The decision for the PAOK - AEK match is expected to be made on March 26.

On Monday, a meeting will take place at the Super League offices to determine when the championship will resume. 

by Shaun Nicolaides
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