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Greece faces FIFA suspension over Cup cancellation

Soccer

FIFA handed Greece’s government a 10-day deadline overnight to reverse its decision to cancel the Greek Cup or face an international suspension from football’s world governing body.

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FIFA sent a two-page letter to Deputy Minister for Sport Stavros Kontonis and the Hellenic Football Federation (EPO) demanding that Kontonis change his ruling.

The global body also ordered further talks to make changes to sports legislation planned for May which contradicts FIFA’s statutes on self-governance of member associations.

“The FIFA Emergency Committee decided to set a deadline of 15 April 2016 for the decision to [cancel] the 2015/2016 Greek Cup to be reversed, failing which the EPO would face an automatic suspension of its membership,” said the letter published on the EPO website.

The ultimatum follows a breakdown in talks held between Kontonis, the EPO and a FIFA delegation in Athens on March 30 to try and resolve the issue.

Kontonis controversially cancelled the cup after the first leg of the semi-final between PAOK Salonika and Olympiakos Piraeus on March 2 was abandoned due to a violent pitch invasion, with fans hurling flares and missiles before being dispersed by riot police.

Kontonis declared his decision was a “legal move” and has insisted that no pronouncement will be made until the EPO’s appeal against the move is heard by the Supreme Court on April 19.

FIFA said that any decision by Greece’s Supreme Court will not be taken into account, saying it is “irrelevant as it could be withdrawn, and because regardless of the eventual decision, the issues linked to the implementation and the potential interference of the law would remain.”

If Greece are suspended by FIFA, their hopes of qualifying for the 2018 World Cup could be in jeopardy as they could be barred from taking part in the qualifiers which kick off in September.

The 2004 European champions failed to qualify for this year’s continental competition in France.

-Reuters

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