OPINION

Sporting corruption

The suspicion that criminal gangs are operating unhindered on all levels of the world of athletics has existed for a long time and is now being expressed in public. The recent attempt upon the life of sports journalist Philippos Syrigos has consolidated these suspicions and, to a certain extent, given them direction. Certain individuals evidently wanted to stop Syrigos’s journalistic research and, more importantly, to ensure that he would not reveal any of his findings… Now authorities are faced with the challenge of identifying, and finding, who wanted to have him killed. But we were already aware, before this unfortunate incident, that criminal groups operate both inside and outside the stadium. For example, we had heard of the «businessman» whose chief commercial activity was cocaine smuggling and whose «business base» was a soccer team in the small town of Neoi Poroi in central Macedonia. We had also heard about another entrepreneur who descended upon another provincial town and bought the virtually unknown local soccer team, leaving everyone wondering where he got the money and where his real interests lay… It appears that sports, especially soccer, have become the central hub for a variety of corrupt interests, as has long been the case with public works and procurements…