MANOS STARAMOPOULOS / AIPS in ATHENS: Some things never change. Proof is evident in the tragi-comic events that have once again plagued ill-fated Greek football.

On Wednesday arsonists set fire to the home in northern Greece of Giorgos Bikas, head of the Greek federation’s referees commission and a member of the FIFA-appointed normalisation committee aimed at addressing the crisis in the domestic game.

The fire caused €100,000 of damages; the perpetrators remain at large.

Provocative statements regarding the identity of those responsible appeared everywhere. New Sports Minister Giorgos Vassiliadis has suspended all competitive league and cup football until an investigation into the fire is carried out.

Costakis Koutsokoumnis, the FIFA appointed normalisation chair and president of the Cyprus FA, stressed that such incidents would serve no purpose. He requested a meeting with the owners of the ‘Big Four’ (Olympiacos, Panathinaikos AEK, and PAOK) in yet another effort to find a suitable solution to the contentious issue.

Emergency meeting

Koutsokoumnis stressed that the Greek issue will not be resolved without agreement among all stakeholders. League representatives expressed opposition to the suspension of the championship while stressing support for the normalisation committee.

For many years the federation EPO has failed to address any of the problems it has faced in terms of maladministration, crowd violence and matchfixing.

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras called an emergency meeting with the participation of various ministers to discuss the latest developments.

The meeting was attended by the Minister of Justice, Transparency and Human Rights, Stavros Kontonis; Deputy Minister, Dimitris Papangelopoulos; the Deputy Minister for Citizens’ Protection, Nikos Toskas, and the deputy Sports Minister George Vassiliadis.

It was agreed that Mr Vassiliadis, in cooperation with the anti-terrorism department, should urgently identify the ‘unknown’ criminals.

** AIPS is the international sports journalists’ association with 10,000 members worldwide. More information:

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