The Super League governing board is convening again on Monday in a bid to overcome the tensions that keeps building up in Greek soccer despite the suspension of action on the field over the weekend; there was plenty of action off it anyway, with Panathinaikos warning on Saturday there are thoughts by certain clubs about a breakaway league.
“Panathinaikos is not seceding from the Super League, it cannot do so,” said president Yiannis Alafouzos in the aftermath of what he called “extremely harsh” penalty of a three-point deduction for the riots in the derby with Olympiakos on February 22.
“We are not leaving the league because we would then leave it to the mafia,” said Alafouzos. However when asked whether there is an understanding with other major clubs regarding the problems within the league he admitted there have been discussions about a breakaway league.
“With PAOK and AEK we have discussed some things. They are our rivals and we cannot forge a common front in everything, but we see eye to eye in some things. There are discussions, and not decisions, about breaking away from the Super League and the UEFA competitions – after all the league is always won by Olympiakos and the Champions League spot belongs to it. We and six or seven other clubs could create another league and play a more interesting championship, and leave Olympiakos just play with Platanias and Ergotelis,” Alafouzos told a press conference at the Panathinaikos ground.
Olympiakos responded through sources on Saturday referring to “that paranoid little man” and promised to sue Alafouzos for allegedly orchestrating the riots at the derby. Asteras Tripolis owner Yiannis Kaymenakis issued a strong-worded statement asking the Panathinaikos president not to worry about his club.
Reports are converging to the preference of the majority of the clubs to return to action next weekend so they are likely to commit themselves to reforms that will increase fan safety and contain violence, as Deputy Minister Stavros Kontonis has requested ahead of a Wednesday decision over an extension to the suspension for another week.
Sources from the ministry say that the government will not back down and will be happy to extend the suspension unless it gets some concrete pledges from the Super League clubs.