ATHENS, (Reuters) – Two Super League club presidents were among 15 people identified by the Athens prosecutor yesterday for alleged involvement in a match-fixing scandal the government described as the “darkest page in the history of Greek football”.
Achilleas Beos of Olympiakos Volos and Kavala’s Stavros Psomiadis were arrested along with seven others on Wednesday on charges of betting fraud before the authorities announced a list of 15 people in total, 10 of whom have now been taken into custody, in a scandal that has left Greek football reeling.
In a further twist, Psomiadis’s father Makis — a former president of Kavala and AEK Athens — is among the people the police are searching for.
The prosecutor has also filed charges against another 70 people who have not yet been named with the full extent of the scandal, which has been dubbed “Koriopolis” by the local media, yet to be made known.
The Greek government responded to the arrests by pledging to get to the bottom of match-fixing allegations as part of a wider effort to tackle corruption in the debt-ridden country.
“This investigation is an opportunity to recover from what is the darkest page in the history of Greek football,” said Culture Minister Giorgos Nikitiadis.
“It will go as deep and as high as necessary. Our basic target now is to clean up the sport and give the people back the game.”
The Super League declined to comment with the investigation continuing but AEK Athens president Stavros Adamidis said the domestic game had reached “rock bottom”.
In an open letter to the Super League, the Hellenic Football Federation (EPO), the Sports Ministry and the Culture Ministry, Adamidis appealed to the top flight’s organising body to exclude the clubs whose presidents were involved in the match-fixing scandal should the allegations be proven.
“We do not have the slightest inclination to let those involved pull us into their mire,” said Adamidis. “This is an opportunity to renew the Super League.”
The probe was prompted by European football’s governing body UEFA which submitted a list of 41 matches to the EPO.
The list concerned matches from the top flight and the second division over the last three seasons, as well as several Greek Cup games.
Deputy Citizens’ Protection Minister Manolis Othonas linked the investigation to the broader needs of the country, which is struggling with a mounting debt crisis, to tackle corruption.
“This affair is of paramount importance,” he said. “There will be no tolerance, no exceptions and no compromise. This is what the whole of Greek society is demanding, not just people linked to football.
“We are living in a new era in our country, where pockets of lawlessness and corruption that until recently were considered no-go areas or had high-level connections and protection no longer enjoy an informal immunity.
The government also confirmed that it plans to reduce its 34 percent stake in OPAP, Europe’s largest betting company, later this year as part of Greece’s 2011-2015 privatisation.