Super League starts with draws and acrimony

The new Super League season began in inauspicious circumstances on August 27 with two uneventful draws and with a cloud hanging over the whole division as it is still not clear which teams will take part in top flight Greek soccer.

On the pitch, OFI Crete drew 1-1 at home with Atromitos and Aris was held to a 0-0 draw at PAS Yiannina.

Off the pitch, confusion continues to reign as three of the eight matches scheduled for this weekend were postponed pending a final decision from soccer authorities and the courts on who will be allowed to compete in this season’s championship.

The Professional Sports Commission ruled earlier in the week that Olympiakos Volou and Kavala should not be issued licenses to compete in the Super League because they have failed to break ties with owners who have been implicated in match fixing.

However, the same panel has not yet approved the licenses of Doxa Dramas and Levadiakos, who are due to take the places of the two demoted teams.

Later in the week, Olympiakos Volou and Kavala secured an injunction against getting replaced by other clubs, which means that the commission cannot approve of the Doxa and Levadiakos applications for the time being.

To confuse matters further, Iraklis, who had secured enough points to stay up last season but was later relegated due to submitting a forged tax document, won an appeal with the Hellenic Football Federation (EPO) on August 26 to take part in the Super League.

This would mean that Asteras Tripolis, which was relegated at the end of the regular season but stayed up when Iraklis was demoted over its offense, would not be allowed to take part in the first division. However, the Super League has yet to acknowledge this ruling.

As a result of all these disputes, the games AEK vs Olympiakos Volou, Olympiakos vs Kavala and Panetolikos vs Asteras Tripolis have been canceled.

So, there will only be three games on August 28: Kerkyra vs Panathinaikos, Panionios vs Ergotelis and PAOK vs Xanthi.

In Saturday’s games, there was little excitement. OFI, back in the Super League after a legal battle of its own, went behind in Iraklio to an early own goal by Erol Bulut, but had Giorgos Georgiou to thank for an equalizer in the 76th minute. The game was a bad-tempered affair with 10 players picking up yellow cards.

In northwestern Greece, Aris was unable to break down PAS’s resistance and was perhaps unlucky to come away with just a draw after hitting the post twice in the first half.