Soccer federation head resigns

Hellenic Football Federation (EPO) president Giorgos Sarris tendered his resignation on Tuesday during the federation’s board meeting, under the pressure generated by a match-fixing scandal involving 16 people, according to judicial authorities, including some members of the EPO administration.

A bitter Sarris did not attribute his resignation to the court case that is soon due to be heard, but used his standoff with the government as a pretext for his departure.

Last Friday the state revoked EPO’s tax clearance, which would allow the Ministry of Culture and Sports to fund soccer clubs and associations directly rather than via the federation.

Sarris stated on the EPO website that “it is a shame, after all these years without any [money from the state], for the associations and clubs to miss out on these breadcrumbs on the pretext that EPO does not have tax clearance. I categorically refute that, and this is the main reason why I have made this decision,” he said, making no reference to the match-fixing scandal.

Sarris’s two-years stint at EPO has also been associated with the hiring of Italian manager Claudio Ranieri, whose contract was formally terminated on Tuesday after Greece had one point and three losses in four games.

His legacy also includes a tussle with former Greece coach Fernando Santos over the Portuguese manager’s departure from Brazil, and an argument with former Greece team manager Takis Fyssas over the latter’s involvement in the selection of Ranieri.

Sarris is also said to be eyeing a switch to politics, as he is expected to be on SYRIZA’s ticket on his native island of Chios in the next general election.

The next EPO president will be elected by the presidents of the soccer associations next month.