Law amendments save Greek football from international ban

Photo: Plotr Drabik/Flickr

Photo: Plotr Drabik/Flickr

06.05.2015

By Play the Game
By amending a sports law according to UEFA and FIFA requirements, Greek football has warded off a ban from international competition.

In a move to combat widespread violence and match fixing in Greek football, Greek deputy minister of sport, Stavros Kontonis, earlier this year proposed a new sports law to the Greek parliament.

Named “Emergency measures for the confrontation of Violence in sports and other provisions”, the bill set out to allow the Greek state to sanction violent incidents with fines ranging from 10.000 to 25 million euros. The government would further be allowed to postpone or cancel sports events and to ban teams from participating in European competitions, writes AFP in ekhatimineri.com.

UEFA and FIFA found the proposed bill to be in breach of their self-governance principle and threatened to exclude the Greek Football Federations (HFF) as a member organisation if the bill was passed.

"...Should the bill be adopted as proposed, we will have no option but to refer the case to the relevant Fifa and Uefa bodies for immediate sanctions, including the suspension of the Greek football federation," was the UEFA/FIFA reply according to the BBC.

While not dismissing the autonomy of sports federations, Kontonis underlined that the Greek parliament was the place to legislate on Greek matters.

"Where public money is involved no one can be excluded from control. We want self rule, but all sports federations will be monitored and managed in a uniform manner, with no exceptions," Kontonis said according to AFP.

After weeks of negotiations and meetings in both Athens and UEFA HQ in Nyon, the bill has however been amended to fit the UEFA/FIFA requirements, and today the bill was submitted to the Greek parliament, Reuters reports.

"We have made a serious effort in order to avoid Greek teams being excluded from international competitions, with our national team always top of our mind," said Kontonis, according to Reuters, when he addressed the parliament.

"The situation in Greek football and sports in general is out of control and this bill represents a large step towards tackling the problems."

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