EPO says attack on VP linked to its anti-corruption efforts

Continuing police investigations into a malicious assault on the vice president of Greece’s soccer federation (EPO) by two unidentified assailants outside the federation’s headquarters in central Athens on Tuesday night have yet to shed any light. Aris Stathopoulos is recovering in hospital following an attack by two young men who beat him with an iron crowbar before fleeing on a motorcycle. The attack left the official with three broken ribs and head injuries. Police officials suspect that the perpetrators behind the attack may also have been responsible for an earlier attack a year ago on another EPO deputy, Thanassis Papayiannis, also outside the federation’s headquarters. Stathopoulos, who underwent surgery Tuesday night, is expected to spend two days inside the Athens hospital’s intensive-care unit for precautionary reasons. Once discharged, police are hoping he will be able to provide information for their ongoing investigation. EPO condemned the attack in a statement it released yesterday, while also calling for the support of the State and other sports officials. «The murder attempt clearly aims to terrorize the administrative officials and halt the effort being made to reinstall credibility into Greek soccer,» the EPO statement noted. Extraordinary measures to offer maximum protection to the federation’s officials would be taken, it added. The government has presented a draft bill aimed at eradicating corruption from Greek sports by demanding increased transparency in the financial dealings of club owners, as well increased financial guarantees from them.