Greek soccer bosses named in corruption scandal

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.

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