Parliament to vote on football amendment on Wednesday

The government filled an amendment on Tuesday that changes the expulsion of football teams and their ensuing downgrade to a lower division, to a penalty of 5 or 10 points.

The issue arose when the Greek Commission of Professional Sports (EEA) found PAOK and Xanthi in violation of laws that forbid shared ownership of teams. It recommended that both be expelled from the first division games and downgraded to the second division in the next football season.

Appended to an unrelated draft bill on bonuses for newborns, the amendment tabled by the government – and announced earlier in the day by government spokesman Stelios Petsas – would allow the two football teams to continue in the first league competition and to garner point penalties instead, which would be applied either to this or the next season.

In statements to the press, Culture and Sports Minister Lina Mendoni, justified the government’s intervention by saying that “when Greek society is threatened by division (…) it is a matter of responsibility for the government to assume a legal initiative.” The amendment, she said, is an attempt to rationalize the penalty recommended by the EEA.

Earlier, following a decision by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, Greek MEP Thodoris Zagorakis was expelled from New Democracy’s group in the European Parliament.

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