SPORTS

Sports bill threatens Greece's presence in Rio 2016

GEORGE GEORGAKOPOULOS

TAGS: Basketball, Olympics

Besides FIFA and UEFA’s threat to exclude Greece from all international soccer competitions if the government insists on the cancellation of the Greek Cup, Greek sports is risking exclusion from the Rio Olympic Games in August and from most other international competitions in various sports due to the draft law the government is preparing to table in Parliament.

A report in Thursday’s Greek press (Goal News) reveals that national federations from various sports in Greece, including basketball, have protested to their international bodies, such as world basketball’s ruling body FIBA, against the government bill that will set a limit to the period of time a sports official can spend as a board member at any Greek sport’s federation. This is likely to be a maximum time of eight years.

The bill, expected in the House in May, will also open up the electorate for the election of board members, to render it more democratic, as the government has pledged.

The report cites well-informed sources to add that the international federations have alerted the International Olympic Committee about the issue which Greek federations feel is tampering with their self-governance sacrosanct, with IOC head Thomas Bach himself also informed about it.

The international federations qualify those interventions by the bill being drafted by Deputy Minister for Sports Stavros Kontonis as “political”, and there is speculation that the IOC is not going to hesitate to excommunicate Greece from the Olympic Games given it always respects the desires of the international federations.

Kathimerini understands that the Hellenic Olympic Committee is also up in arms about the bill, as at least the clause on the limit set to the mandate of board members is seen as contravening the Greek constitution.

The press report also reveals that FIBA is about to rush into supporting the Hellenic Basketball Federation (EOK) by threatening the government with an immediate exclusion of the Greek teams from all international competitions, just like FIFA has done for soccer.

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