Lower leagues set to return from strike

The country’s second- and third-division soccer leagues, on strike since mid-November, appear set to resume play following a settlement with the top-tier Super League over debt owed to the lower-level competitions. Competition is expected to restart on January 6 or 9. The negotiating sides struck a deal that reduces the Super League’s financial obligations to the two lower-level leagues by half. In the original deal, the Super League’s administrators had agreed to provide the association governing the second- and third-division clubs with 2.9 million euros a year. The revised terms limit the Super League’s financial obligations to 1.45 million euros for the next six years. The Greek soccer federation’s president, Vassilis Gagatsis, intervened to help negotiate a deal. Since the mid-November debacle, second- and third-division teams have tried to maintain fitness levels through friendly games. Late last week, the captains of 13 second-division clubs held a meeting to discuss the strike’s financial repercussions on the more than 2,000 soccer players employed in Greece’s second and third divisions. The lower-league clubs have strongly condemned both the Super League, which they consider responsible for the lockout, and PSAP, the professional soccer players union, for its lack of interest in the issue.