Greek Prime Minister demands UEFA intervention over Super League referee fiasco

The events from Monday’s meeting continue to dominate football headlines in Greece

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has lobbied UEFA chief Alexander Ceferin as he looks to provide the top flight of Greek football with better referees following a series of controversial performances kicked off the playoff rounds of the tournament.

Former Premier League referee Steve Bennett, who is head of the EPO’s (Greek FA) refereeing body and takes home around 400,000 euros per year, has found himself the centre of a storm after a series of questionable decisions were made during the early parts of the play offs in the Greek Super League, which Olympiacos in particular took offence to.

Bennett has overseen the appointments of second rate referees for big games, and has upset millions of people in the process.

Earlier this week, Nottingham Forest and Olympiacos owner Evangelos Marinakis slammed the Greek FA (EPO) following a meeting between the owner and the organisation, claiming that the governing body is ‘the worst thing there is’.

The organisation has ‘lost credibility’ and entered ‘a vicious circle of disrepute’, according to reports in Greece, which has led to the intervention of Prime Minister Mitsotakis, who was elected in 2021, in a bid to remedy the situation.

He, along with EPO President Takis Baltakos, are ready to lobby UEFA in a bid to secure elite referees for the remainder of the play offs and beyond, it was confirmed on Monday.

“Tomorrow I have an appointment in Geneva with UEFA for another reason and I am sure I will raise the issue so that help can be given to bring in elite or first-class referees”, Baltakos revealed after sitting through the four hour meeting with Bennett and Marinakis.

There are certainly question marks in some areas around Baltakos, who is believed to have connections to the far right political party Golden Dawn, and who many believe will be unable to prevent the major issue that ‘one of the problems plaguing Greek football is the manipulation of officiating and EPO’s role in this’.

While Bennett’s position appears to be reaching the untenable stage, there is little optimism that EPO will be able to plot a successful path forwards, and there is hope that a reunion with UEFA will be able to guide them in the correct direction.

The Super League play offs continue this weekend, with Olympiacos in action against Aris, who finished two places and 19 points behind them in the main season.

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Ben Browning

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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