Gov’t on collision course with FIFA, UEFA

The leftist Greek government appears on a collision course with world and European soccer’s governing bodies FIFA and UEFA over plans announced on Thursday to tackle violence in domestic sport.

Deputy Sports Minister Stavros Kontonis told a press conference that despite disagreements with FIFA and UEFA his government plans to go ahead with an auditing and supervisory role in all aspects of sports in Greece.

“After decades of experience we all have at least drawn our own conclusions.

“Greek justice now has official conclusion of the actions of two criminal organizations. If an international body considers that the current legislative framework has worked well, let them come and tell us,» Kontonis said.

Greek media report that FIFA and UEFA are concerned that new legislature will take away the autonomy of the country’s soccer federation.

“The state recognizes the self rule as it exists in municipalities, regions and universities.

“Where public money is involved no one can be excluded from control. We want self rule, but all sports federations will be monitored and managed in a uniform manner, with no exceptions,» Kontonis said.

Tough new legislation to combat soccer violence was unveiled in a draft bill by Kontonis last month.

Under the new legislation the government would have the right to impose fines ranging from 10,000 to 25 million euros for violent incidents, to order the postponement or cancellation of sporting events and even to prohibit teams from playing in European competition.

The legislation also includes the possibility of fines to be imposed on media outlets for showing or inciting violence and prison for individuals from unrecognized supporters clubs for issuing tickets.

It also sets out guidelines on the use of cameras and electronic ticketing, while referees will be required to submit financial statements of their wealth to the relevant authorities.

“We believe that the bill puts on the rails again the responsibilities of the state to handle the tsunami of violence in sports. The government and the Parliament are the only legitimized bodies of the Greek people,» Kontonis said.

He added that FIFA and UEFA are international organizations governed by Swiss law while «the Greek parliament is the place to legislate with the direct mandate of the Greek people.”


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