By George Georgakopoulos
OFI Crete celebrates its return to the Super League after two years in the second division, by topping the Football League playoffs that took place in late July.
Two months after their scheduled start, the Football League playoffs that would determine who would follow Panetolikos and PAS Yiannina to the top flight kicked off in what was an emergency competition held within less than two weeks in the mid-summer heat.
The delay was due to a number of outstanding court cases and appeals that originally had OFI deprived of its participation in the playoffs, as the Iraklio side had been deemed unfit to play in the Super League for technical reasons.
OFI took the case to a civil court and against all odds (given that soccer clubs usually get punished for resorting to civil courts), they won and entered the playoffs with an advantage after finished third in the regular season.
OFI, Levadiakos, Doxa Dramas and Diagoras collected most of their players literally from the beaches for a round-robin mini-league of six rounds of matches, with all games played in neutral venues in Athens.
With Doxa and Diagoras having serious problems in fielding full squads, the playoffs were reduced to a farce in several instances.
Eventually, with the crucial game between OFI and Levadiakos drawn 1-1 on July 28, the farce was completed on July 30 with the game between OFI and Doxa not taking place as Doxa did not have enough players to field a full side.
OFI was awarded all three points, to win the playoffs mathematically with one more round of games left to play.