Soccer official to be charged

The efforts of the former sports minister, Giorgos Floridis, to wipe clean Greek sports of corruption by introducing new legislation intended to oust suspect top-ranked officials from their posts and put them on trial, seems to have hit the final stretch. According to the findings of a public prosecutor, Isidoros Doyiakos, which were disclosed on Monday, Thomas Mitropoulos, a former adviser to Socrates Kokkalis, the chief at powerhouse Olympiakos, and an official for first division newcomer Aegaleo, will face criminal charges for alleged corrupt activities in Greek soccer. Press reports yesterday stated that the public prosecutor intends to indict Mitropoulos for money laundering and offering bribes to referees. Last year, Floridis, then the deputy culture minister in charge of sports, began an ambitious campaign to rid the sporting sector of corrupt agents by tabling a draft bill stipulating that individuals indicted for a felony be barred from holding posts at sports clubs. The draft bill was overwhelmingly ratified in Parliament but strongly challenged by Victor Mitropoulos, brother and close associate of Thomas Mitropoulos, who held an influential position as president of EPAE, Greece’s association of professional soccer clubs.Victor Mitropoulos has been charged with embezzlement by a panel of appeals court judges but has not been tried yet. Victor Mitropoulos’s tenure as chief at EPAE ended after he did not stand for re-election at the association’s elections last summer. They can do as they please, I’m only interested in Aegaleo, remarked Thomas Mitropoulos when informed about the public prosecutor’s intentions. Aegaleo was promoted to the first division after a lengthy absence from Greece’s top-level soccer competition. The general secretary for sports, Nikos Exarchos, warned against a new war between state and sports officials. Greek soccer, he noted, would do well to remain unperturbed by the public prosecutor’s latest move. No doubt, the event’s timing, during the festive season, adds to its appeal for travelers seeking to combine their winter breaks with good-quality entertainment.

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