Olympiakos' Champions League spot safe for now despite owner's crime scandal

Greek champions Olympiakos Piraeus owner Vangelis Marinakis (centre) talks with his associates before a Greek Cup game between Olympiakos and Niki Volou at the Karaiskaki stadium in Piraeus, near Athens August 25, 2014. — Reuters pic
Greek champions Olympiakos Piraeus owner Vangelis Marinakis (centre) talks with his associates before a Greek Cup game between Olympiakos and Niki Volou at the Karaiskaki stadium in Piraeus, near Athens August 25, 2014. — Reuters pic

PRAGUE, June 30 — Olympiakos Piraeus are keeping their spot in the Champions League for the time being despite investigations in Greece into the club’s owner Vangelis Marinakis, UEFA said today.

Marinakis was banned from football earlier this month and has also been ordered to report to police every 15 days on strict bail terms.

He is accused of being involved in and directing a criminal organisation, aiding and abetting blackmailing, aiding and abetting extortion, and aiding and abetting bribery and fraud.

Olympiakos have qualified directly for the Champions League group stage after winning the Greek Super League last season.

“The UEFA disciplinary bodies have provisionally admitted Olympiakos,” UEFA general secretary Gianni Infantino told reporters

“There are investigations in Greece (and) the situation could change....as we all know, this kind of investigation can take some time, we need to have some clear evidence.”

“I think our bodies have shown they are very firm when it comes to match-fixing; if there is any evidence, they will take this into account.”

“There is a clear rule as well which automatically excludes a club involved in match-fixing.”

Marinakis has already said that he is still the “major shareholder and guarantor of the future of our Olympiakos.”

According to media reports, runners-up Panathinaikos and third-placed PAOK Salonika have prepared complaints to UEFA that question whether Olympiakos should be allowed to compete in Europe.

The latest Greek football scandal, following the ‘Koriopolis’ match-fixing probe of 2011, emerged in April when a 173-page document was revealed by prosecutor Aristidis Korreas and prompted a nationwide investigation.

Korreas’s document contained transcriptions of telephone tapping operated by the National Intelligence Service.

It is alleged that Marinakis and Hellenic Football Federation EPO officials Giorgos Sarris and Theodoros Kouridis were responsible for directing a criminal organisation from 2011 with the aim of “absolute control of Greek football’s fate by the methods of blackmailing and fraud”.

Sarris, president of the EPO from October 2012 to December 2014, has been banned from football and ordered to remain in Greece as part of his bail terms. He denies all accusations. — Reuters

Related Articles