Some call it a clean-up, and others (who are probably right) a stench. One is speaking about the situation prevailing in Greek football, which has reached red alert level shortly before the restart of the Super League and after the temporary halt for the national team’s match in the Nations League. It is a stench for which FIFA and UEFA bear responsibility as regards the whippersnappers with which they and the caliph of the South saddled the Hellenic Football Federation, such as tourism minister Melo Pereira.
Alexis Kougias went ballistic over Pereira after the ‘wonderful’ refereeing of Yorgos Lambrou in the Xanthi-AEL match of Monday, 8 October, for the out of area penalty won by Xanthi and the red card given by the Athens referee to de Lucas for the criminal marking of Milosljevic, a protégé of Stavros Tsironis. Keep that in the back of your mind.
“We have a new bench with Thomas number two. You can only handle this situation with humour. Where did they find this guy from Evia? Melissanidis brought him last year,” the AEL boss said. He accused the former employee of the Hellenic Football Federation, currently in AEK, Yannis Papadopoulos that he is controlling the referee. Yes, it was the same person who was convicted over “Koriopolis” and who is powerful in the “Association”.
“Thomas (Mitropoulos) is a special advisor and Yannis Papadopoulos a friend who is like a brother. He used to be in Tsakogiannis’ team and is intensely active – he cunningly approached Kyriakos Thomas at his side, without Kyriakos wanting that I believe. Through him, he got to know me and I helped in court, because I felt sorry for his children. Now, however, he is controlling Greek referees. He is the man who undertook the dirty work,” Alexis Kougias said.
The Hellenic Football Federation (HFF), supposedly preoccupied with cleaning up, did not even take the trouble to make a statement for the sake of appearances.
That is a guilty silence.
The cleanup ‘pistol’
In any event, Alexis Kougias came in second and tired, since the HFF of clean hands and pistols had done their job, and a day earlier, at the AEK-Olympiacos derby, where the Dane Christophersen did whatever he wanted. Some, however, had the gaul to describe his refereeing as ‘fifty-fifty’!
In order to choose the 35-year old referee, the head of the International Academy of the Central Refereeing Committee (KED), Stavros Tritsonis, was marshaled. Instead of crawling out the window from the Committee, he stayed on and is making the appointments for the games.
The caliph’s man in the South saw the Dane in a 20 September Europa League Game in Hungary, between Vidi and Bate Borisov. He went and saw him as an UEFA observer (!!!), gave him an excellent grade, and brought him to Greece for the derby of the Olympic Stadium so as to play 50-50. On the eve of the game, he took him out for a fish dinner, along with the entire refereeing team of the match.
The Dane himself admitted it to the media of his country. “We were out for dinner the previous night and not the slightest thing happened. It was I, my two assistants, the Greek fourth referee (Tzilos), and the person responsible for refereeing development (Tritsonis). Christophersen confessed without pressure, came to Greece, played in the game, collected his euros, and left.
All this was tolerated by Melo Pereira, whose stance was more similar to a tourism minister in refereeing than to the president of the Central Refereeing Committee.
50-50 refereeing with crimes against Olympiacos
What did his 50-50 refereeing consist of? In the 46th minute he ejected Livaja?? for elbowing Meriah, while from the moment Olympiacos opened the score it played 100 -0 AEK, placing the Piraeus team in their area with his whistling, calling all the fouls in favour of AEK.
He did not give Oympiacos a penalty over the pulling of Hassan, because the match would end with 0-2 right there, and he was relieved when AEK evened the score in the end, while in the phase with Fetfatzidis in overtime, he must have had a minor stroke.
The provocative refereeing of Christophersen “broke” the tradition created by previous foreign referees in the championsip πρωταθλημα, in which they went unnoticed.
Justifiably, Olympiacos was boiling. “The referee Christophersen played the match exactly as expected, with the relationship that he had with the wanted man Tsironis. After the goal, he became stressed and played 100-0. Until then, he did everything to leave AEK’s tough game. He did not give clear cards from early on, culminating in the injuring of Fortounis by the provocative “strike” of Moran. Pereira’s cast of characters is continuing its pitiful performances,” Olympiacos said.
Hence the two teams had a draw, which in terms of points suited PAOK, the team that essentially imposed foreign referees in the Greek championship. Did you catch the innuendo?
Christophersen himself said he was satisfied by his refereeing and stated, “Referees in Greece are greatly pressured. Hence, they were very satisfied by the fact that other federations accepted the invitation and that we did well (as regards the refereeing of the match).”
They are coming to issue recommendations but…
The refereeing crimes that occur in the Greek championship brought UEFA to Greece to issue recommendations.
However, where were the European Federation and Theodoros Theodoridis when Stavros Tritsonis was appointing Christophersen for the Olympic Stadium derby? The answer is that they were indifferent.
“Lakovic (the locum tenens of the European Federation in Greek football) is coming to issue recommendations,” was the answer given by some, who warned even of a Grexit of Greek football if the situation is not normalised.
Some mouthpieces of the Hellenic Football Federation spoke of a climate of consensus at a three-hour dinner that brought together PAOK, AEK, Olympiacos, and Panathinaikos.
“Grammenos has a vision. We are here to help you,” Lakovic said after the dinner with a dose of mockery: “I presume that you are improving.”
Instead of threats, pork and other gourmet delicacies
As for the threats of Grexit, the envoy of the European Federation and Theodoros Theodoridis, along with Marios Georgiou and Angelo Rigopoulos, shelved them.
They preferred to focus on the meal of piglet, water buffalo hamburger, rib eye tagliata sautéed with Jack Daniels, and Black Angus ribs, slowly cooked for eight hours in a bourbon sauce. For dessert there was baklava with pralin ganache, ice cream with yoghurt and figs, ali baba, and unique distillates or sweet wines. Any comment?
Olympiacos put them in kickoff
The legal representative of Olympiacos placed the cleanup and the stench in the centre.
She expressed her dissatisfaction with refereeing in Greece in the clearest possible manner, as she requested, with the agreement of PAOK, to have foreign referees in all the games of the big teams in the Super League until the end of this season, and not just in derbies. In their arguments, the Red and Whites underlined that until now the refereeing errors occurred in “small” games, resulting in a change of the result, and not in derbies.
The representatives of UEFA conceded that Greek referees lack quality and are not satisfied with the operation of the Hellenic Football Federation and of the Central Refereeing Committee.
As regards the level of Greek refereeing, Lacovic had a meeting with Melo Pereira, who reportedly said that specific teams are trying to influence referees in order to have better treatment. Pereira said nothing about his own actions and incompetence.
‘Tritsonis and Koukoulakis should leave’
Olympiacos also demanded the removal of Tritsonis and Koukoulakis from the Central Refereeing Committee.
He publicly and rightly brought out in public view Tritsonis’ reaction to the appointment of Christophersen in the AEK-Olympiacos derby, and the answer he received was that it was an error, and that things that create problems or stir the slightest suspicion should not occur.
The ‘criminal organisation’, Yannakis, Thomas and Filippousis
Olympiacos spoke clearly of a ‘criminal organisation’ in football that directs everything, and it referred by name to Yannis Papadopoulos and Thomas Mitropoulos, and how they control the Central Refereeing Committee and Tritsonis, even as tourism minister Pereira appears unable to do anything! At the same time, it made reference to the presence and role of the criminals and pumped up bouncers of the criminal organisation of Greek football.
Olympiacos asked for a rationalisation of expenditures of the Hellenic Federation of Football, to which professional football pays over 11-12mn euros per year, when the Federation has 100 employees, and previously had 60.
Olympiacos also lodged a complaint a complaint about the manner in which the Hellenic Football Federation publicises various situations, and demanded the removal of communications director Iakovos Filippousis, known in the Federation as “Mr. 7,000 euros”.
UEFA got what it wanted in the three-hour dinner. It managed it from a communications angle and sold it to its internal hierarchy, along with the meetings that it held with Vangelis Grammenos, who made it very clear that he is supportive and ruled out the prospect of early elections in the Federation.
In order to tone down the rhetoric, the Europeans commenced efforts to demonstrate that they understand the source of corruption in football and that they are changing their stance. For that to be credible, they must remove Pereira, Tritsonis, and the rest of them.
Why was Kougias not called in?
Indicative of the failure of the meeting was that football club owners did not attend, but instead sent their representatives. Olympiacos’ legal advisor Lina Souloukou attended. AEK did not even sent its vice-president, Minas Lyssandrou, but rather department head Angeliki Arkadi. PAOK sent Makis Gagatsis, and Panathinaikos sent Leonidas Boutsikaris, who is unknown to football fans.
In truth, why was Alexis Kougias not called in to be briefed? The answer is that they had no idea about the charges of AEL’s owner. The Federation did a good job in not informing him. Lakovic went to the Olympic Stadium on Friday for the Greece-Hungary match, accompanied by Savvas Theodoridis. That’s how he learned first-hand what Grammenos and Iakovos Filippousis and his group are hiding from him.
That group includes former AEK employee Alexis Dedes, who is currently working for the Federation and had the audacity to greet Savvas Theodoridis as if nothing had happened.
“Get out of here. You have the gaul to address me,” Theodoridis replies.
– “But….,’ Dedes said.
– “There are no buts. We know about all that you have done in the Federation. Aren’t you the one who told me, ‘Mr. Savvas, I swear that if Olympiacos does not want me in the Federation I will resign’?”
Dedes lowered his head and left without comment. What could he say, after all?