SPORTS

Referee committee head sacked

Hellenic Football Federation (EPO) president Sofoklis Pilavios reportedly called for the resignation of the head of the Central Referee Committee, Giorgos Psychomanis, yesterday. The terrible performances by referees in the Super League last weekend as well as in the lower divisions has forced newly elected Pilavios to bring forward the implementation of the federation’s earlier decision to replace Psychomanis. Reports suggested that Pilavios met with Psychomanis yesterday morning and asked him to tender his resignation. Psychomanis responded by offering his resignation for the third, and probably final, time this season. The ultimate decision rests with EPO’s board, which is scheduled to meet today. Pilavios also asked Manolis Papatriantafyllou, responsible for refereeing in the second and third divisions, to resign. Although there are certain clubs which would like Psychomanis to see the season out, such as PAOK, Xanthi and Ergotelis, according to reports over the weekend, EPO is likely to replace him with Giorgos Giannopoulos until June. The other possible candidates are Naoum Mintiouris and Spyros Papadakos. From then on, if Greece’s best referee Kyros Vassaras sticks to his decision to hang up his whistle, he is the No 1 favorite to take over at the referee committee. Three of the eight referees in the last round of the Super League are headed for suspension due to referee calls that have enraged several clubs, although others seem to have escaped penalties. In a record week for the number of officials referred to the disciplinary body of the referee committee, the referees of the Panionios-Ergotelis and OFI-Asteras Tripolis matches are about to be suspended, as well as the referee, his two assistants and even the referee observer at the Olympiakos versus Aris game. The official at the match between Iraklis and Panathinaikos, Tassos Kakos, narrowly escaped suspension even though Panathinaikos has protested his decision to disallow a goal by Vangelis Mantzios as offside and not award it a penalty for a handball by Grigoris Papazacharias. OFI reaction Fans of OFI, which drew 1-1 at home with Asteras on Sunday after the referee denied the Cretan side a clear penalty, tried to attack the match official at the end of the game. Hundreds of people tried to make their way into the dressing rooms, while others went to the airport to wait for him. An OFI fan club issued a statement yesterday saying that with the bad referee calls against OFI this season and the poor treatment Cretan farmers received in Piraeus, no Cretan fan should attend the Greece versus Israel match on April 1 in Iraklion for the World Cup qualifiers.