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Greek football in crisis as referee forced to deny he arrived for a game drunk before Olympiacos slam ‘corruption ring’ of officials

EPOs soap opera continues to drag on in the latest explosive claims

The officiating circuit in the Greek top light has descended into farce one again as a referee was forced to deny allegations that he was drunk before a match, before Olympiacos filed an official complaint about potential corruption.

The Super League has been mired in controversy since the first round of play-offs, with complaints to UEFA and ministerial intervention having already occurred in the last fortnight.

Ahead of the clash between AEK Athens and Aris, the Polish referees were reportedly drunk and disorderly on their flight to Greece to take charge of the encounter.

‘Pawel Raczkowski, along with his assistants, Radoslav Siecka, Adam Kupsik and VAR, Krzysztof Jakubik appeared drunk and caused problems with their behavior upon their arrival at “El. Venizelos”’, Sport 24 claimed.

“Already during the flight, they got into a fight with Greek passengers who live in Poland and were coming to visit their homeland”, another report claimed.

Raczkowski issued the following statement: “In relation to the news bulletin about the purported situation at Athens International Airport from the 8th of April 2023, I want to categorically deny being intoxicated or exhibiting aggressive behaviour.

“I reported the situation to airport security who calmed the aggressive individuals down.

However, UEFA have begun an investigation into the situation, which forced a local group of referees to take their place on short notice, in a game that AEK came through 3-1 winners.

Then, an already odd situation got increasingly strange as Olympiacos issued a statement in which they accused the Greek FA, EPO, of operating a “corruption ring” with the aim of corrupting the Greek league.

“Everyone knows what has happened with the replacement of the quartet of Polish referees who were originally appointed by the K.E.D. to run that particular game. In addition to what is mentioned in the letter of PAE PANATHINAIKOS, it is a matter of ensuring the credibility and integrity of the championship that the following additional questions are answered immediately and clearly by the personally responsible Baltakos and Bennett”, they wrote.

Mr. and Mrs. Bennett and Baltakos – who are the two sides of the same electoral coin – must be held accountable for this unjustified, in violation of all logic, coup d’état decision they took, which irreparably exposed Greek football, creates a de facto problem for all Greek clubs that will compete in the European competitions as it has caused a serious problem in the relations with the Polish federation, and it affects the core of the league which is the integrity of the organization.

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Ben Browning

Football writer and analyst. Long-time writer of all things Arsenal and avid watcher of European football. Happy to discuss all things football over on Twitter.

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