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Top Greek clubs threaten to withdraw from soccer league

GRAHAM WOOD

TAGS: Soccer

Three of Greece's top clubs have threatened to pull out of this season's Super League in a dispute over refereeing selections, throwing the start of the new season into doubt.

Panathinaikos, AEK Athens and PAOK Salonika all said they would refuse to take part because the Greek Football Federation (EPO) had compiled the list of referees for the season without consulting them or the league.

Panathinaikos said in a statement that they would "refuse to participate in another championship scarred by dubious refereeing; under the current circumstances the championship cannot start."

AEK described the situation as "a criminal theatre of the absurd surrounding Greek football".

"It's impossible for the championship to start and for us to participate in these conditions," added PAOK, who also called on EPO president Giorgos Gkirtzikis to resign.

The season is due to start on Aug. 20.

In April, Greece came close to being suspended from international football after the government ordered the Greek Cup final to be canceled following crowd violence at a semi-final between PAOK and Olympiakos Piraeus.

Global soccer body FIFA said the order infringed its statutes on the autonomy of national soccer federations, however an agreement was reached shortly before the April 15 deadline.

[Reuters]

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