Greek football federation faces FIFA expulsion because of violence

PAOK owner, businessman Ivan Savvidis, second right, approaches AEK Athens' Manager Operation Department Vassilis Dimitriadis, second left, as his bodyguard and PAOK's player Fernando Varela from Portugal, center, try to stop him during a Greek League soccer match. (AP)
Updated 14 March 2018
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Greek football federation faces FIFA expulsion because of violence

ATHENS: FIFA says Greece faces being expelled from international soccer competitions because of widespread violence throughout the league structure there.
Herbert Huebel says a series of incidents, culminating with the gun-toting club owner running onto the field to protest a disallowed goal in a recent PAOK v AEK Athens game, are “to be very polite, unacceptable.”
Huebel met with Greek government and league officials in Athens on Wednesday following Sunday’s incident in Thessaloniki.
The government has indefinitely suspended league play after PAOK owner Ivan Savvidis rushed onto the field when the referee disallowed the goal, brandishing a gun.
The Greek soccer federation says it will draft a declaration against violence by March 23, after which the government will review its position.


Julen Lopetegui admits future in doubt ahead of Champions League clash

Updated 1 min 50 sec ago
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Julen Lopetegui admits future in doubt ahead of Champions League clash

MADRID: Julen Lopetegui has said he will fight to turn Real Madrid’s stuttering season around but could not guarantee he will be in charge for the Clasico against Barcelona on Sunday.

Lopetegui’s future is in doubt just four months after swapping the Spanish national team for Madrid on the eve of the World Cup.

His side face Viktoria Plzen in the Champions League on Tuesday, on the back of five games without a win and having lost all of their last three.

“What I’ve learned about this club is to fight, that is the DNA of this club,” Lopetegui said at a press conference on Monday.

“That’s what we’re going to do, fight, both the players and the coaching staff. We know results haven’t been great but we are going to turn this around. We are going to fight.”

Asked if he knew that he would be in the dug-out when Madrid visit Camp Nou this weekend, Lopetegui said: “I’m here now, that’s all I can say. I am the coach at this moment.

“If you ask me what is going to happen in a month or a year, I can’t tell you. We’re focused on the present.”

Madrid’s poor run has left them seventh in La Liga while defeat to CSKA Moscow in the Champions League last month sees them sitting third in Group G.

Key players have offered their support to Lopetegui. Captain Sergio Ramos has said it would be “crazy” to change coach so early in the season while Marcelo insisted the team was “with him to the death” after Saturday’s loss at home to Levante.

“The players are strong,” Lopetegui said.

“They are champions not by coincidence, but because they are strong.

“They have had bad times and bad moments but they have a lot of strength. They don’t get to be champions by believing everything they hear.”