Prime Minister George Papandreou and UEFA President Michel Platini met in Athens on Tuesday to discuss the problems plaguing Greece's soccer championship, especially in the top divisions. Afterwards, they confirmed the willingness of both sides to put an end to phenomena of violence and corruption in Greek football, Tourism and Culture Minister Pavlos Geroulanos said.
Besides Geroulanos, also present in the meeting were Deputy Culture and Tourism Minister George Nikitiadis and Hellenic Football Federation (EPO) President Sofoklis Pilavios.
Geroulanos stressed that the prime minister and the UEFA president discussed practical ways for meeting the aforementioned goals, adding that “one of them is bringing UEFA know-how to Greek football stadiums”.
“Four teams of UEFA experts will be sent to Greece to offer their assistance in dealing with match-fixing, doping, violence in football stadiums and refereeing, offering necessary know-how to Greek authorities and EPO”, Geroulanos said.
Speaking to reporters before his departure from Athens’ “Eleftherios Venizelos” International Airport, Platini stressed that “our goal is to help EPO put Greek football on the right track”. He also announced that UEFA experts will arrive in Greece next month to study the situation and suggest solutions.
UEFA's president also announced that Pierluigi Collina (a former Italian football referee regarded as the best referee of all time) will be called in to assist Greece in improving refereeing.
Government sources had said earlier that the UEFA president made no specific requests, clarifying that the meeting was not of a technical nature but held to reaffirm the willingness of both sides to cooperate in the reform of Greek football.
According to the same government sources, the issue of the Greek football teams’ participation in European tournaments was not raised.