SPORTS

UEFA confirms Olympiakos Volou ban

UEFA stated on August 11 that it has expelled Olympiakos Volou from this season’s Europa League on evidence the club was involved in match fixing in 2009 and 2010.

“Olympiakos Volou FC has been excluded from this season’s Europa League and given a further three-year ban from UEFA competition, deferred for a probationary period of five seasons, after breaching Article 5 of the UEFA Disciplinary Regulations,» UEFA said in a media statement.

“The decision was taken by the UEFA Control and Disciplinary Body. The Greek club has until midnight on Monday [August 15] to submit an appeal under Article 49 of the UEFA Disciplinary Regulations,» the statement added.

Olympiakos Volou has indicated it will appeal the decision, hoping that it will be reinstated and be able to face Paris Saint-Germain in the Europa League playoffs on August 18 and 25.

UEFA has not yet decided whether Luxembourg side Differdange, which lost 6-0 to Olympiakos Volou on aggregate in the previous round, will face PSG instead.

Meanwhile the decision to spare Olympiakos Volou and Kavala from relegation has created a furore in the local game.

Culture Minister Pavlos Geroulanos has voiced his disapproval, stating that the government will apply pressure for the cleansing of Greek soccer in any way possible.

“Just as UEFA is showing resolve for combating match fixing, Greece?s sports justice is softening penalties. The state respects the decisions of the sports justice but is determined to continue the effort the clean up Greek soccer until the very end,» his statement read.

In a clear reference to the Hellenic Football Federation and its leadership, Geroulanos added: «To this end we are constantly evaluating the credibility of our interlocutors and using all instruments at our disposal: state funds, state stadiums, state television. We shall announce our decisions in a complete and orderly fashion in due course.»

Both Olympiakos Volou and Kavala play their home games at grounds controlled by the state.

Fellow Greek clubs Panathinaikos and Larissa also issued condemning statements in response to the Hellenic Football Federation?s decisions.