Culture and Tourism Minister Pavlos Geroulanos on Thursday told the ANA-MPA on Thursday that Greek professional football is entering a phase of catharsis, pointing out that the first step made within the framework of this effort is aimed at reforming the sector to allow its healthy forces to emerge.
Geroulanos said a match-fixing case is in the hands of justice and that the first decisive step has been made. He also sent a clear message to the Hellenic Football Federation (EPO) that “the sports law should become stricter otherwise the next championship will take place without public financing, stadiums or public-run television coverage.”
The state will speed up the draft law on professional sports, which will include clauses for the prevention of violence in sports venues and measures against doping and other football plagues, he stressed, pointing out that early next month the relevant draft law will be brought to the cabinet for approval.
Geroulanos said that “an investigation is underway by the financial crimes squad (SDOE) focusing on money-laundering and illegal betting,” while police intensifies inspections in football fan clubs, stressing that the bad economic situation the country is in was directly linked with lawlessness.
On the fate of the football championship in the new season, Geroulanos stressed that it is too soon to make any comments.
Authorities name 15 suspects in match-fixing scandal
Greek authorities on Thursday announced the names of 15 people suspected for 'fixing' matches in the Greek first division 'Super League' championship, including club owner Makis Psomiadis and coach Yiannis Papacostas. The scandal was uncovered after the European soccer federation UEFA noticed irregular betting patterns involving first- and second-division club matches.
First-instance court prosecutor Popi Papandreou released the names of those involved, including 10 people arrested on Wednesday night and another five for which arrest warrants were issued but are not in custody.
The names released by authorities include those of Achilleas Beos, Giorgos Tsakoyiannis, Nikolaos Zamanis, Vassilios Karakoulias, Andreas Dimopoulos, Dimitris Zavantias, Athanassios Dotsis, Nikolaos Halkos, Nikolaos Pantelis and Stavros Psomiadis, all of whom were arrested on Wednesday. The five not currently in custody are Chrysostomos (Makis) Psomiadis, Ioannis Papadopoulos, Vassilios Geortsiakos, Mihalis Nikolopoulos and Yiannis Papacostas.
The charges against them include forming a criminal organisation and running a criminal organisation, fraud as a habit and occupation, involving sums in excess of 15,000 euro, repeated counts of habitual and occupational extortion with the threat of harm to the career of the victim, bribery to alter the outcome of a match, repeated counts of illegal betting, repeated counts of participation in illegal betting, instigating the previous two offences and illegal weapons possession.
After the charges were read out, the case was sent to the 9th examining magistrate, who is expected to call in an additional 70 people for questioning as suspects for which authorities do not currently hold sufficient evidence to justify their arrest in the act.
Sources within the justice system revealed that the investigation into the case was originally launched in October 2010. The assistance of Greece' National Intelligence Service - but not the police - was sought in January this year after an anonymous report containing the specific names reached the Paleo Faliro police department.