PRAGUE: Greek champions Olympiacos remain provisionally admitted to next season’s Champions League despite the swath of matchfixing charges levelled against club president Evangelos Marinakis writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
The shipping magnate is among 16 people accused of involvement in matchfixing along with other Greek football officials and another club president.
Allegations – which he denies – include involvement in a criminal organisation, incitement to extortion, inciting an explosion endangering life and involvement in bribery and corruption aimed at rigging football betting markets.
European federation UEFA, while investigating the circumstances surrounding Marinakis, is taking the legally-defensive line of innocent unless proven guilty.
The Olympiacos issue bears some similarities to the Fenerbahce case of 2013 when the Turkish club were barred from the Champions League also because of a matchfixing case focused on the club and its president.
However UEFA general secretary Gianni Infantino insisted the European federation and its disciplinary bodies, while ready to act decisively on matchfixing, needed sufficient evidence before they could take action.
He said: “The UEFA disciplinary bodes have provisionally admitted Olympiacos to the Champions League while, of course, there are investigations ongoing.
“Should something change the situation can change but these investigations can take some time. Clear evidence is needed and consideration of serious legal procedures.
“Our bodies have shown that they are very firm when it comes to matchfixing but, of course, legal proceedings can take some time.”
Infantino, on a separate matchfixing issue, spoke of UEFA’s concern about the latest Italian case in which the president of Catania has admitted involvement in results manipulation.
He said: “We are worried about this situation in general and that’s why we are fighting against it, working with the prosecutors, and why we have introduced a betting fraud detection system working 365 days a year.”
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