False dilemmas

In politics, a dilemma is probably the most undesirable of situations, since it means either «a choice between two equally risky decisions» or «two contrasting propositions which lead to the same damnatory result.» This is the sort of dilemma, as described above by the dictionary, which the government faced during elections in the Greek Football Federation (EPO). According to the more experienced and unaligned sportswriters, the two candidates and their entourages are equally responsible for the current state of Greek football, and thus unsuitable to clean up the sport, as the government has promised. In the candidacies of Vassilis Gagatsis and Victor Mitropoulos, the government could not claim to be choosing between the lesser of two evils. In this case, one cannot even claim that «politics is the art of the feasible,» justifying a resort to compromise. The question arises as to whether the government could have remained neutral in the EPO elections, as (according to New Democracy’s Vangelis Meimarakis) the prime minister has instructed, since the federation is an independent amateur organization that is answerable to the international confederation, FIFA. Yet one wonders just how independent and amateur EPO is since the greater part of its revenue comes from state funds, and since, according to a charge once made in Parliament by PASOK, even at a local EPO election it is possible for «a million dollars to change hands.» The government’s true dilemma was not between Gagatsis and Mitropoulos, but between outright confrontation or a temporary truce with all that is rotten in the state of Greek football. Even the defeat of a third ticket with new, uncorrupted candidates acceptable to all parties would have been better than this, since it would have revealed the extent of the corruption and freed the government’s hands.