Deputy Sports Minister Stavros Kontonis said he is open to receiving a delegation from FIFA and UEFA on Wednesday to discuss his decision to indefinitely postpone the Greek Cup competition, but insists his decision to suspend the competition stands.
Earlier this month Kontonis postponed the Greek Cup indefinitely for the first time ever. The competition had reached the semi-final stage, but violence disrupted a crucial match between PAOK and Olympiakos.
“We will battle to confirm our decision. It was founded on legal terms and is a measure which solves the serious problem of public order,” Kontonis said during a press conference in Athens.
Greek media reported that FIFA and UEFA officials will try to convince Kontonis to withdraw his decision or the country’s teams may face disqualification from European and international competitions.
“The government is here. We will come into conflict with not only those with interests, but all those who think they can blackmail or intimidate the government. There is no other road for us except the courts. We will support our decisions in the courts of the country,” Kontonis said.
“What cannot be tinkered with further is a law which was already passed in parliament and is already being applied to the letter. For all themes, however, I want to hear suggestions and I believe that we’ll have a very smooth meeting.”
Before the FIFA and UEFA delegations arrive, the Hellenic Football Federation will appeal to Greece’s Supreme Court on Tuesday to reverse the decision made by Kontonis. “We are fighting to get our decision validated,” said the Deputy Sports Minister. “It was an entirely legal move and, as a measure, solves a serious problem, that of preserving public order.”
Kontonis also explained why he cancelled last week’s meeting between the presidents of the elite clubs including Olympiakos, PAOK, Panathinaikos and AEK Athens. Panathinaikos refused to take part and Olympiakos owner Vangelis Marinakis was advised not to attend by the Athens sports prosecutor due to an ongoing investigation into a match-fixing probe in which the shipping magnate has been accused of involvement.