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Greek football on the brink of catastrophe

11 March 2011 / 22:03:09  GRReporter
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The former and present referees Sotiris Vorgyas and George Daloukas appeared today before the sports prosecutor and testified in the preliminary investigation for the Maccabi-Olympiakos and Aris-Panathinaikos matches, which are referred to in the recordings provided to the court by the lawyer Alexis Kougias. According to unnamed sources, the information the two referees provided is essential.

In his testimony, referee Daloukas relied on individuals and events and at the same time stressed in any way that he had never received a bribe, nor was he offered such. He told the prosecutor that he was threatened and demanded his name to be exonerated from blame because "it was a human mistake, for which I pay."

Currently, the court is investigating whether crimes of a lesser degree were committed to violate the law on sports, bribery and possible racketeering, but secrecy of telephone communications of persons involved in the case still can not be cancelled.

If the court decides it is necessary it could call the lawyer and president of Panahaiki Alexis Kougias to testify again, but the recordings on the third tape will not be required at least for the moment.

Former referee Vorgyas said he hoped that "something should show up at least this time." George Daloukas did not want to make statements to the press.

The president of the Professional Football Federation Sofoklis Pilavios, the president of the commission for selection of referees Kiros Vasaras and the sports journalist Kyrgiacos Tomaidis will testify next Wednesday.

The investigative materials include the recordings from the two tapes lawyer Alexis Kougias submitted to the judicial authorities.

The president of Olympiakos Volos club Ahileas Beos took the baton and organized press conference during which he admitted that the voice heard on the recordings at issue is his, and accused the owner and former president of Panathinaikos Nikolaos Pateras that he tapped and recorded his conversations with other people.

He expressed his surprise at the behavior of his onetime friend and said that the contents of the talks is a result of dubbing. "Even as such these conversations can not be part of the preliminary investigation," he said and "threw the ball" to the court’s field.

Ahileas Beos said he would lodge complaints against Alexis Kougias and Nikolaos Pateras and urged the prosecutor to allow his telephone calls be investigated to find out whether he had spoken with referee Daluokas.

Shortly after the press conference Nikolaos Pateras took defensive position and said Ahileas Beos was "excellent writer" and that he did not have any tapes. "The court will rule on the slander against me and Mr. Beos must prove his arguments before the court."

At the same time, it appears that state authorities are prepared to take the first serious measure against the Greek Super League. In a letter to the president of the Professional Football Federation Sofoklis Pilavios the Secretary General for sport Panos Bitsaksis urges the federation to organize the next Cup because the Super League is believed "inappropriate" for it.

The Secretary did not rule out the possibility to invite referees from abroad if necessary. Panos Bitsaksis warned that state sponsorship of teams could be terminated if further cases of violence and corruption are stated and made three requests to the football federation. First, to ensure that the Cup will be conducted in a fair manner. Second, to establish a code of conduct for referees and third, to establish penalties for football violence and the placing of fireworks and firecrackers.

The dramatic revelations about Greek football crossed the borders. The Italian sports newspaper Gazeta dello Sport wrote in its article, referring to Greek sources, that a person offered money to the Italian referee of the match Maccabi-Olympiacos, but he didn’t take it.

Luca Banti did not wish to make any statements about the information on the unsuccessful attempt of bribe to the benefit of the Greek team of Piraeus. Similar was the reaction of the member of the referee committee of UEFA Pierluigi Collina who permitted Luca Banti to make a statement on the case.

The referee, however, refused to say anything with the words: "The Italian journalists have not left me alone since the morning, I can not calm down. I do not want to say anything about this strange story. I belong to the federation the will of which is not to talk about this."

Tags: SportSoccerFixed matchesBribesReferees
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