Greek FA suspends operations, cites fan violence
The Greek Football Association on Friday said it will suspend
operations indefinitely in an attempt to trigger a reform of the
country’s violence-plagued domestic leagues.
FA chief Sofoklis Pilavios called for a vote by the body’s
executive, which was carried by a margin of 49-7, arguing that he
wanted to take the game out of the ”hands of hooligans, violence,
The suspension will start on Monday, after Greece’s 2012
European Championship qualifier at home to Malta on Saturday.
Greece leads Group F after three straight wins.
The move is being made during the domestic off-season, which
usually lasts until late August, while Greece’s next competitive
international is not until Sept. 2, a Euro 2012 qualifier in
The FA said that a scheduled friendly match between Greece and
Ecuador would go ahead at New York’s Citi Field baseball stadium on
”Operations of the Greek FA will be suspended indefinitely
starting June 6, pending the completion of talks with the
government, political parties and league organizers,” an FA
Greek football has been marred by repeated outbreaks of fan
violence this season, along with allegations of corruption.
At the April 30 Greek Cup final, hundreds of AEK Athens fans ran
onto to the pitch at the Olympic Stadium in Athens and attacked
rival players before the end of the match against lowly Atromitos.
AEK was leading the game 3-0.
Police used tear gas to disperse the rioters who clashed with
fans on the field. AEK was awarded the cup, but ordered to play
three home games in an empty stadium as punishment.
As part of repeated government and FA initiatives to clean up
the game, northern Greek club Iraklis was relegated to the
second-tier after a committee found that its finances were not in
order. But the ruling triggered riots by Iraklis fans. The club is
expected to challenge the decision at the Court of Arbitration for
Sport, based in Lausanne, Switzerland.
Pilavios said the FA was forced to take drastic action to try
and reform Greek football.
”We are facing a very major problem of violence,” Pilavios
said. ”We have a choice to make: Do we want football in the hands
of hooligans, violence, and match-fixers, forgers, and liars? A
game with deals made under the table, exploited by politicians, a
game of violence and threats? Or do we want a game based on strong
institutions and rules and strong moral grounding?”
Organizers of the Greek top-flight Superleague issued a
statement supporting the Greek FA decision.