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Play-offs: Do they work for the Greek football championship?

06 June 2009 / 19:06:31  GRReporter
2257 reads

Ivan Kolev


The crucial for the Greek football summer of 2006, when the country’s football association was disqualified by FIFA, brought some serious changes in the championship. The harsh measure was a result from the new sports bill that the Ministries of sports and culture issued, in which two major controversies in the section devoted to football existed.

The first controversy was in the procedure for choosing a president of the football association. Until then, 54 people, representing different parts of Greece, would participate in the vote. However, the new bill suggested that the voting be performed by 350 people, arguing that this is a more democratic way. The president of the Greek football federacy at that time opposed the proposal.

The other controversial part was that a Super league was created in Greece to manage the championship of the 16 leading teams. The Greek professional football league deals with the management of groups “B” and “C” championships. It was embedded in the establishment of the Super league that the state will take part by financing it.

This decision caused numbers of arguments as well. The League as it is today was created on July 16 2006, in order to replace the former National A football group. The members are the 13 best teams for the season and the three National B football group top teams.

The season of 2008-09 was the third since the Super League creation. It started on August 31, 2008 and ended on April 26, 2009. The teams on positions from 2 to 5 in the regular season play extra meetings fallowing the each-with-each system, in order to determine a second participant in the Champions league, as well as two out of the three country representatives in the UEFA tournament. Those meetings are called play-offs.

According to their ranking in the regular season, the teams start with a point-bonus, using the following system. The team that ranked 5th enters the play-offs with 0 points. The 4th enters with points equal to the difference between 4th and 5th position, divided by 3. The 3d team enters with points equal to the difference between 4th and 3d position, divided by 3 and the 2nd teams enters with points equal to the difference between 3d and 2nd positions, divided by 3.

The play-offs winner enters directly the UEFA Champions league qualifications. The team that ranked 2nd, goes through the qualifications in the third qualification-round of the UEFA Champions league.

The third team will participate in UEFA’s second round and the fourth receives the right to take part in the Intertoto cup. In championships that do not apply the play-offs system, participating in European tournaments goes hand-in-hand with a process called “normal championship procedure”, comprised of traditional tournament practices, most of which have already been discharged.

The play-offs system was introduced in the Greek football championship in order to boost the competition within the groups, and thus- the viewers’ interest, and also to attract revenues from different sources (television rights, advertisement, etc.).

On the other hand, the expectations are that the system will reduce the opportunities for directing or selling games. It is now time, three years after its application, to find out if it succeeded in its good intentions. The mistake that Greece made regarding the system is that it occurred to no one to perform a SWAT analysis concerning the tournament duels- football quality improvement, technical proficiency, viewers’ interest, as well as the financial aspect.


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