By Paul Nicholson
January 22 – Allegations of match-fixing are still blighting Greek football with clubs complaining that the promised clean-up has not happened and that referees appointments are being influenced and that in turn is manipulating results.
The Greek FA (HFF), under the control of a FIFA normalisation committee with the referees division reporting to Portuguese Vitor Melo Pereira, has failed to eradicate suspicions of match-fixing from the Super League, a key promise from FIFA when it parachuted in its overseers.
The situation has reached such a crisis point that Zoran Laković, director of national associations at UEFA, has been confirmed as being on a mission to the country in yet another attempt to find solutions within the Greek administration.
Insideworldfootball sources say that over 50% of clubs are fed up with the referees appointments and how they seemingly favour certain clubs. They say that the HFF are consciously making these decisions to influence results and there have been a number of calls for referees to be appointed by a central body outside of Greece and for foreign referees to be flown in to officiate.
FIFA’s Normalisation Committee is embedded in the country but is working with new officials, many of whom were central figures or aligned to previous regimes that forced FIFA to step into the country in the first instance. Laković has a major task on his hands to broker common ground within the federation stakeholders, let alone find a solution to club grievances and the issues surrounding referee appointments. But a solution has to be found if there is to be any chance of bringing confidence in the game’s central administration by clubs and fans.
Last September Insideworldfootball reported that after a year being in position Pereira had failed to stop the match-fixing that has seemingly become a part of Greek football life.
At the start of his mission Pereira said: “According to the briefing from UEFA and FIFA, 75% of the Greek Football League (division b) football games are under betting investigation.”
New elections led to Alexis Dedes, ex-CEO of AEK who resigned to take a position on normalistation committee, being appointed HFF General Secretary. Dedes is believed to be close to Michael Koukoulakis a former international referee.
Koukoulakis was an active referee until he joined the normalisation committee and was given oversight of referees and their appointments, reporting to Pereira. He was joined on the normailsation committee by another former referee, Stavros Tritsonis.
The list of dubious refereeing decisions is ever lengthening with local media highlighting decisions that influence the course of matches. One such decision was the in the AEKvs PAS game when PAS forward Beatra was clearly tripped by AEK’s goalkeeper Chinotta when he was through on goal (see video).
The clubs complain that the appointments are a case of new people in power but with the same overriding club affiliations. Allegations have been made that links can be drawn to those implicated in the much-publicised Koriopolis match-fixing case, and their potential influence over referee appointments.
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