By Andrew Warshaw
March 21 – FIFA and UEFA have joined forces to warn Greece to reinstate the national cup competition, scrapped by the government earlier this month because of crowd trouble, or risk being thrown out of international football.
The competition was called off after the first leg of the semi-final between PAOK and Olympiakos was abandoned on March 2. The Greek government wants to pass laws on football-related violence following a series of incidents. The Greek Super League has already been suspended three times this season.
Under the planned legislation, the government would have the right to impose fines ranging from €10,000 to €25 million for violent incidents, order the postponement or cancellation of sporting events and even prohibit teams from playing in European competition.
Any new legislation would breach FIFA and UEFA rules on government interference, however, and both bodies have sent a letter to the Greek authorities reiterating that stance.
FIFA and UEFA warned that “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.”
FIFA president Gianni Infantino was further quoted as saying that he hopes such a warning “will make them reconsider their actions, so we can still work together to resolve the issues affecting Greek football”.
However, Greece’s deputy sports minister Stavros Kontonis has rejected the threat in a television interview, putting his country on a collision course with the game’s governing bodies by declaring he “does not accept ultimatums.”
“We are not going to change the philosophy of the sports bill. The supervision exercised in Greek football by Fifa and Uefa has failed,” Kontonis said, adding that he would be meeting both bodies in order to try and find a compromise solution.
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