As usual, not a week or two go by in Greece without Drama of some sort. If you haven’t yet seen what happened earlier in the week during the PAOK-Olympiakos semi-final match in Toumba, check out the video below to get an idea:
Not once, but twice was the game called off after fans invaded the pitch. Initially it was a response to the terrible officiating throughout the match, but I get the impression it ultimately stemmed from an overall sense of frustration with the overall sense of Greek football. Widespread corruption, leagues being won before they even start, an incompetent government getting in the way of any progress being made to advance the sport in Greece, the frustration can be somewhat understandable.
As is typical of Kontonis, his first actions were to cancel games without making any attempt to actually solve any of the problems which have led to football in Greece being the way it is. How many times now have we seen him call of games? Postpone the league? Has it made things any better? In my opinion I’d say its just made things worse. Sure, something needs to be done, but banning all fans as the result of the actions of a few solves nothing. All that has happened is that the resentment of the fans towards the ministry of sport, and to Mr.Kontonis in particular, has grown each time he’s taken some form of action.
To make matters worse, rather than just call of one game, he has called of the entire cup. This was AEK’s chance to win some silverware in our first season back, a chance for Poyet’s and the team’s hard work to be rewarded. Instead, hes taken all of that away from AEK (and Atromitos).
I’m not saying that AEK is the only team that matters in all of this. But how does preventing us from the playing the cup, especially after our fans have been rather well behaved (aside from the incidents in Peristeri), solve anything? Does he think these “hooligans”, or whatever he wishes to call them, will just go away over time? I really don’t understand it.
Where this all leaves us I really don’t know. As of yet, the league hasn’t been called off yet but it seems like that is yet another course of action Kontonis is willing to take. Something which will ultimately mean no European football for us next season, despite all the effort we’ve given to get to where we are now.
What else does this mean? Well for one, I can’t imagine Poyet would be willing to stay at all if the league were to in fact be cancelled, and I can’t imagine any serious coach would be willing to give Greece a try. It also means more of our talented players would leave the country while making it harder to attract quality foreign players. Investment will probably ultimately leave as well as any serious efforts to develop the sport in any way. Aside from alienating fans and building up even more resentment among them, moves like this, without any other serious efforts to solve the problems, will do nothing but ensure that football in Greece continues to become even more of a joke than it already is.
I’m really not sure what to expect going forward. For now it seems like league games this weekend will still go ahead, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they’re cancelled at the last moment. Afterall, it took so long for the announcement that our Cup game was cancelled to get out that the referees had actually arrived at OAKA without even knowing anything had happened.
For a bit more info surrounding all the events of the past few days, take a look at the articles below: