Karembeu faces sanctions

The leading official of the disciplinary board of the Greek Soccer Federation (EPO) yesterday called for the re-examination of a recent case regarding Olympiakos player and French international Christian Karembeu. The official, the disciplinary board’s president, Giorgos Chlaboutakis, considers a three-game suspension handed to the player as a light punishment for his deeds. Unable to restrain himself after reportedly being provoked by opponents in a first division game against PAOK on February 23, Karembeu headbutted PAOK’s Yiannakis Okkas, who had fouled him, and was shown the red card. Karembeu then headlocked Okkas, threw him to the ground and punched Pantelis Kaffes, PAOK’s captain, despite the efforts of at least three teammates to restrain him. Finally, his Brazilian teammate, Giovanni, dragged Karembeu off the pitch. After the match, a chastened Karembeu said he was sorry for the incident but added that «very nasty things» had been said to him, declining to elaborate. His three-game suspension, which has now been completed, was based on the post-match report by the game’s referee. It only included the first of the three aforementioned incidents. In a statement released by Chlaboutakis yesterday, the EPO disciplinary chief said that Karembeu’s punishment ought to be made tougher for defamation of the sport. The defending champion’s punishment woes do not end there. Olympiakos, currently placed second in the league, three points behind front runner Panathinaikos, is also awaiting a ruling on last weekend’s outbreak of violence in its VIP stand during a game with AEK. The visitors’ president and a former team president were both attacked by individuals believed to be bodyguards of Socrates Kokkalis, the president of Olympiakos and a telecommunications mogul. Kokkalis, who was absent on a business trip in the USA, sent AEK’s president, Yiannis Granitsas, a telegram on Wednesday in which he stated his «regret» over the incident. AEK has pressed EPAE, the association of professional Greek soccer clubs, for disciplinary action. It could lead to three home games before empty stands for Olympiakos.

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