Greek soccer faces FIFA expulsion because of violenceMarch 14, 2018 4:01pm

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Greece could be expelled from international soccer competitions because of widespread violence, a FIFA representative said Wednesday.

Herbert Huebel said a series of incidents, culminating with a gun-toting club owner running onto the field to protest a disallowed goal, are "unacceptable."

"Greek football is going to an edge," Huebel said, adding that a potential Greek suspension from international soccer "is not any more impossible."

Huebel met with government and league officials in Athens following Sunday's incident in Thessaloniki at a league match between PAOK Thessaloniki and AEK Athens.

The government has indefinitely suspended league play after PAOK owner Ivan Savvidis — a Russian with strong business interests in Greece — rushed onto the field, accompanied by bodyguards and with a holstered gun strapped to his waist, when the referee disallowed the goal.

Greek league organizers launched disciplinary procedures against Savvidis and PAOK on Wednesday, which could lead to the team being docked points or even relegated, and a maximum five-year ban for its owner.

"We all love football but it's unbearable that people are scared to go to a stadium," Huebel said. "How can you bring children there when there are guns on the pitch?

"The aim of the game is always to win, of course," he added. "But it can't be forced by arms, by threats or even by crime."

Following Wednesday's talks, Greek soccer federation president Evangelos Grammenos said league officials will draft a declaration against violence by March 23, after which the government will review its position on the league suspension.

"It was decided that professional soccer (officials) will commit in writing to a framework concerning violence inside and outside stadiums, and concerning stadium security," Grammenos said. "If the minister for sports finds these commitments satisfactory he will decide on whether to revoke his decision."

Huebel said he would make his report to FIFA in about 10 days.

"The report will be serious," the Austrian said. "We don't know what the decisions by FIFA will be. There's a wide range which finally ends up at the FIFA Council. ... The jurisdiction of UEFA and FIFA can be a very strict one."

The Greek government welcomed FIFA's involvement.

"We are ready to act with the vital and valuable contribution of FIFA, to put an end to actions that blacken the image of the sport and the country," government spokesman Dimitris Tzanakopoulos said.

A public prosecutor has ordered a judicial investigation, which will also look into why police allegedly ignored instructions by a prosecutor to arrest Savvidis on the spot.

Savvidis has apologized for his behavior.

Despite the league ban, more soccer violence was reported in Thessaloniki on Wednesday — this time at a local high school championship game.

Police said two people were taken to the hospital after clashes broke out between spectators armed with iron rods and wooden bats. Fourteen people were detained on suspicion of involvement.

Page 1 of 1

More Stories Like This

Stoke City goalkeeper Jack Butland gestures as Everton celebrate scoring their side's first goal of the match during the English Premier League soccer match between Stoke City and Everton, at the bet365 Stadium, in Stoke, England, Saturday March 17, 2018. (Mike Egerton/PA via AP)
England weak in key areas as World Cup approaches
FILE - In this Friday Dec. 1, 2017 file photo, the World Cup trophy is placed on display during the 2018 soccer World Cup draw in the Kremlin in Moscow. Morocco says it will have to spend $16 billion to prepare the country to host the 2026 World Cup, with every proposed stadium and training ground needing to be built from scratch or renovated. With less than three months until the FIFA vote, the north African nation presented details of its proposal to take on the joint bid from the United States, Canada and Mexico. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko, file)
Joint World Cup bidders: Trump hasn't sparked voter concerns
FILE - This Aug. 3, 2012, aerial file photo shows the Olympic Stadium at Olympic Park, in London. A person familiar with the plans tells The Associated Press that Major League Baseball is working to finalize a two-game series between the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox at London’s Olympic Stadium on June 29-30 in 2019, the sport’s first regular-season games in Europe. The Red Sox have the option of having both games be Red Sox home games, the person familiar with the planning said. The person spoke on condition of anonymity Monday, March 19, 2018 because no announcement had been made. (AP Photo/Jeff J Mitchell, File)
AP source: MLB hopes for Yanks-Red Sox in London in 2019
Brazil to play Austria in final warmup game for World CupBrazil to play Austria in final warmup game for World Cup, week before tournament opener
Former Dortmund coach and eye witness Thomas Tuchel arrives at the trial against Sergej W., no family name given due to German privacy laws, who is charged with detonating three bombs targeting the Borussia Dortmund soccer team bus last April, at the German state court in Dortmund, Germany, Monday March 19, 2018.the trial   (Bernd Thissen/dpa via AP)
German soccer club's ex-coach suggests attack sped up exit
UK is infused with Russian money, making a crackdown hardAs Prime Minister Theresa May rose in the House of Commons to announce sanctions against Russia for the nerve-agent attack on a former spy, investors across town in the City of London were piling into a 750 million euro bond sale by Gazprom
This component is currently unavailable.

Related Searches

Related Searches