Super League in disarray, lockout continues

The situation in Greek soccer is going from bad to worse, with accusations flying between club officials, the head of the Super League announcing he will quit on Monday and the leagues remaining suspended for this weekend.

“There will be no games [this weekend] in the Super League, or in the Football League, or in the third division. That’s it! The decision about the indefinite suspension of appointing referees remains valid,” said the head of the Hellenic Football Federation (EPO), Giorgos Sarris on Thursday, adding that the league that organizes the top flight’s games has failed to respond to the EPO demand for a statement or for some action to prevent another incident of violence such as that against referee official Christoforos Zografos.

“The Super League has sent us nothing, nor has it issued a statement, as we had asked it to. It appears that this entity is in disarray,” Sarris said, and he is not far from the truth.

On Thursday morning the president of the Super League, Takis Agrafiotis announced that he will tender his resignation at next Monday’s governing board, accusing Panathinaikos of withdrawing its support to him. Sources from Panathinaikos responded speaking of hypocrisy from his part.

Yet the most serious accusations came from AEK strongman Dimitris Melissanidis, who on Thursday reiterated his call on authorities to investigate Olympiakos owner Vangelis Marinakis as the head of a criminal organization in the Greek game. He refuted allegations that he was behind the attack on Zografos last Thursday, saying he is prepared to go to extremes in order to see Greek soccer clean up.

“There is no dictatorship on the planet that has not fallen. This one will fall too, regardless of how powerful it is,” Melissanidis told a press conference.

However Zografos is reported to have testified that a person who claimed to be Melissanidis had threatened him 10 days before the attack, saying to him “I will throw you to the sea, I know where you live.”

Olympiakos issued a statement branding Melissanidis a “jester in a state of panic” and threatening him with court action for slander, adding that “this will probably be the least of his worries when he stands a trial for attempting to murder Zografos”.

A sports prosecutor has already heard the testimonies of Marinakis and Sarris and has also summoned Melissanidis regarding the Zografos case.

Nova TV, on the other hand, is putting pressure for the lifting of the Super League’s suspension, as in a letter it sent to the league on Thursday it threatened to activate the provision of the TV rights contract that allows the satellite platform to deduct 2 million euros from the sum that effectively keeps the league alive.

However, if the Super League is eventually dissolved, the contract for the TV rights will be annulled, depriving Nova of its biggest asset and putting its rival subscription platform, OTE TV (holder of the Greek Cup’s rights) in contention for the league’s rights, too for the first time.

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