Pro football clubs Olympiacos Volos and Kavala have been relegated to the fourth division after failing to receive a license to participate in the upcoming Super League -- Greece's first division pro league -- by the relevant state-affiliated Professional Sports Commission.
The decision states that no substantive changes took place in the two teams' ownership status, following recent decisions by a sport tribunal to hand-down life-time bans against the majority owners of the clubs, Achilleas Beos and Makis Psomiadis, respectively, from any activity in the football sector.
Both men have been implicated and charged in a high-profile match fixing case, complete with explicit mobile phone conversations intercepted by Greece's intelligence service on orders from a high-ranking prosecutor.
Beos remains in jail awaiting trial, while Psomiadis disappeared and is wanted on an international arrest warrant.
Moreover, out of the seven clubs examined on Tuesday, AEK Athens did not receive a playing license, although an extension was given until Thursday for the popular team to produce a single original document.
In a latter statement, Culture & Tourism Minister Pavlos Geroulanos, whose portfolio includes the professional sports sector, referred to an "end to the violence and corruption in professional football. Today's decisions by OPAP (the betting pools organisation) and the Professional Sport Committee show this decision of ours. We shall use every implement that we have at our disposal."
Asked whether the Super League championship will begin as scheduled on Saturday, Aug. 27, he said "the procedures are complicated. It is up to the Hellenic Football Federation..."
Protests in Volos
More than 2,000 Olympiacos Volos supporters assembled in the centre of the central Greece city after the decision was announced, before heading to the offices of the ruling PASOK party, which was pelted with stones and other objects.
Police arrived at the scene and used teargas to disperse the crowd.