No state money for pro soccer

As Alpha Digital, one of Greece’s two pay TV stations, officially announced its liquidation yesterday, professional soccer clubs deprived of big contracts kept pressing for a form of state subsidy, while a consensus emerged among the largest political parties that the State should not come to professional soccer’s rescue. Alpha Digital had enticed 10 of the Greek soccer league’s 16 first-division teams and the vast majority of second- and third-division teams away from Netmed, offering big contracts that are now worthless. Lower division teams, especially, will have difficulty operating. While several club presidents, who met yesterday, decided that first-division games this weekend would go ahead, Antonis Antoniadis, head of the professional players’ association, declared that it was better for teams to go under and professional soccer to start anew. His views were supported by the ruling PASOK and opposition New Democracy parties. «The State should not give anything. We didn’t cause the problem,» said Deputy Culture Minister Giorgos Lianis.

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