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Greek soccer on ice after attacks on referees

GEORGE GEORGAKOPOULOS

TAGS: Soccer

The Christmas spirit does not appear to have reached Greek soccer, as the Super League has got suspended after the protest by the referees against Olympiakos’ attack on the officials of the match against Volos and the assault at the home of one of them on Sunday.

Olympiakos drew 0-0 at Volos to drop two points behind leader PAOK that thrashed Atromitos 5-1 on Monday, but the focus has shifted from the results to the protests by Olympiakos concerning a goal wrongly disallowed as offside and a penalty demand that went unanswered.

A senior Olympiakos official, Savvas Theodoridis, has sued all of the match officials for alleged bribery, taking soccer courtside. Worse, the house of Angelos Evangelou, who was the video assistant referee at the game, sustained significant damage from an explosive device that unknown assailants hurled late on Sunday.

As if that was not enough, Olympiakos and Volos officials clashed during the game, with Costas Karapapas, junior vice president at Olympiakos, almost trading blows with Volos mayor Achilleas Beos, who was on the bench of the local club at this game as an... interpreter.

In this climate of terrorism the Super League referees announced they are going on strike indefinitely, while a press report on Tuesday (at Live Sport newspaper) said soccer governing body FIFA is considering suspending the membership of the Greek federation until the local game’s mess is sorted out. The government is also reportedly considering to take action.

In this last round of Super League games for 2019, the three major clubs of the capital, Panathinaikos. Olympiakos and AEK all ended up in goalless draws in separate games, which has not happened in 60 years. Besides Olympiakos’ 0-0 at Volos, AEK went goalless at Lamia and Panathinaikos shared a stalemate with Aris in Athens.

In other weekend games, Larissa beat 10-man Panionios 2-0, Panetolikos scored its maiden victory beating OFI 2-0 to move off the bottom of the table, and Asteras thrashed Xanthi 5-0 in Tripoli.

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