“Football Grexit is not of concern for us,” deputy Culture & Sports Minister Giorgos Vasiliadis said on Tuesday as FIFA and UEFA have called for extraordinary meetings on Greece’s Football on Wednesday. FIFA has threatened to ban Greece from world football after the domestic league was suspended following PAOK chairman Ivan Savvidis storming the pitch armed with a gun and threatening the referee on Sunday, in a derby match against AEK.
FIFA have issued a statement to warn Greece that they must prove that their national competitions can run smoothly or face a global ban. The statement stressed the national body must “take proper actions by the competent bodies to eradicate all sorts of violence in order to guarantee the smooth running of the national competitions.”
UEFA is reportedly to take up the Greek issue but also the recent incidents during matches in France, UK and Spain.
“Extreme phenomena call for bold decisions,” Vasiliadis said a day after the incident and stressed that the government has no intention to step back.
“If we don’t receive commitments, if the statements won’t come to an end, if we won’t agree with the new regulatory framework, the new fines, we will bring the issue to the end. We will not risk the public order and the security because they like to fight,” Vasiliadis said to an interview with daily efsyn.gr.
Stressing that the existing framework is not enough, Vasiliadis said “It is not of concern for us if there is football Grexit.”
He stressed the need for FC owners to sign a memorandum and to accept fines for inflammatory statements.
“We don’t step back, we are not under pressure, nobody is having us in his hands,” he said adding that “‘everyone has responsibility.”
As expected Greek football clubs expressed their disappointment over the suspension of the domestic League, saying why should they pay for what Savvidis did.
The government insists that no matches take place until the legal issue is solved. According to state broadcaster ERT, there will be no matches at least until the end of March, beginning of April.
Meanwhile, PAOK owner Ivan Savvidis was still at large Tuesday noon. On Monday, Greek police issued an arrest warrant against him.
Greeks wonder, why he was not arrested while in the pitch with a gun on his belt on Sunday.