SPORTS

Olympiakos chief, Greece defender named as suspects

Olympiakos owner and Super League president Vangelis Marinakis and Greece international defender Avraam Papadopoulos were among the 70 further suspects named in connection to match-fixing allegations by an Athens prosecutor on Friday.

First instance prosecutor Eleni Raikou made public a list of the 70 suspects after 15 had already been named earlier in the week. Ten of those, including Olympiakos Volou chairman Achilleas Beos, have already been arrested.

The 15 are alleged to have formed the hard core of the ring and face criminal charges that carry prison sentences of between five years and life. The other 70 suspects named on Friday face lesser charges but the accusations are nevertheless serious.

Marinakis, the owner of the Greek champions and head of the organisation that runs Greece?s top soccer league, is accused of colluding with a criminal gang and taking part in bribery to fix the outcome of matches.

Speaking to journalists on Friday afternoon, Marinakis denied any part in the affair. «The match fixing issue has nothing to do with us,» he said. «There is no evidence pointing to any wrongdoing.”

Papadopoulos, an Olympiakos player, Kostas Mendrinos, formerly of Olympiakos but now with Aris, and Jose Reyes of Diagoras are some of the players named among the 70 suspects.

Referees Dimitris Kalopoulos and Yiannis Spathas have also been identified as taking part in the match-fixing ring.

Marios Lefkaritis, a Cypriot who is the vice president of UEFA?s executive committee, said European soccer?s governing body was pleased with the way the investigation is being handled.

?UEFA is satisfied with developments and the way the [Greek] state is handling the matter,? he told Skai TV.