Monumental incompetence

After many bombastic statements by sports minister Giorgos Orfanos, the FIFA saga came to an inglorious end. Following a pointless period of turmoil, the New Democracy conservative government finally came around and accepted the rules that already apply to the other 207 members of international soccer’s ruling federation. It took a few humiliating days for the ND minister to accept the obvious. Orfanos realized that the voluntary membership of an international organization is based on one sole condition: strict compliance with its rules. The government displayed monumental incompetence in handling an affair that involves millions of fans across the globe and billions of euros (coming from international soccer competitions). The most important problem dogging Greek sports is not the presidency of EPO, the Hellenic Soccer Federation. But even if that were indeed the greatest issue, there are much more subtle, not to say silent, ways to overcome it than choosing to clash with the international soccer federation. After all, mistakes can always be corrected with amendments, presidential decrees and ministerial decisions. Similarly, the prognosis of FIFA’s reactions by Greek government officials was also wrong. The last-minute wavering and negotiations are evidence of that. Finally, the revised sports bill was also a mistake. It’s enough to say that only yesterday the draft bill was amended and sent to FIFA officials three times. Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis is understandably upset over the incompetence of Sports Ministry officials, although there is no point in after-the-event grievances. The conservative ministers must live up to their duties so that the causes of embarrassment and discontent will be remedied.