UEFA concern over Greek soccer violence bill

Greece provoked fresh concern from European soccer’s governing body UEFA on Wednesday over governmental interference which could lead to the Euro 2004 winners’ international suspension.

UEFA secretary general Gianni Infantino made plain his unease over proposed amendments to a draft bill to curb violence in domestic sport in a letter to Greek soccer federation.

“We are very surprised to learn that some new changes seem to have been submitted today to the Greek Parliament,» Infantino told federation president Giorgos Gkirtzikis.

FIFA and UEFA disagree with Alternate Minister for Sports Stavros Kontonis’s bill amendments focusing on the right of the government to intervene and the extent of the jurisdiction of the federation especially in terms of international sports authorities.

Infantino said that «any deviation from the joint FIFA/UEFA proposals might be considered as contravening the principle according to which all FIFA and UEFA member associations have to manage their affairs independently and without the influence of any third parties.”

The Greek Parliament is debating the bill on with a vote expected on Thursday.

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 unrecognised 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 would like to inform you (Gkirtzikis) that it is absolutely crucial for both FIFA and UEFA that all amendments as proposed by FIFA and UEFA in the letter sent on May 2 to the Greek Sports Minister and as explained to the latter during the meeting held on May 4 in Geneva are duly taken into account, which means without making any amendments to the wording of these proposals,» Infantino said.


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