UEFA to help clean up Greek football - Platini

July 27, 2011 | 08:57
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European football chief Michel Platini said on Tuesday that UEFA was ready to lend a helping hand to find ways to stop violence and corruption in Greek football.

"Our goal is to help the Greek football federation so that Greek football returns in the right direction," Platini told a press conference after meeting with Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou and other government officials.

He said a team of experts from UEFA will be visiting Greece in August to coordinate efforts in this direction.

The UEFA president insisted that Greek justice must do its part in relation to the match-fixing scandal which is rocking the country's professional sport before UEFA's disciplinary commitee can take action.

"We will finish from football any players who are involved in match-fixing and illegal betting," Platini warned.

"Whatever touches the game and the players, touches our soul. If you go to a match knowing the outcome, you don't have to go to the stadium. We are not the police. But we must cooperate with justice in all countries."

Platini expressed satisfaction with his "constructive and meaningful" meetings he had in Athens in relation to violence, match-fixing, doping and refereeing.

"It was an extremely constructive meeting, during which various issues were discussed, and confirmed the willingness of both parties to put an end to the phenomena of violence and corruption we see in Greek stadiums," said Culture and Tourism Minister Pavlos Geroulanos about Platini's meeting with Papandreou.

Geroulanos, who is in charge of professional sport in the country, also attended the meeting, as did Greek football federation president Sofocles Pilavios.

Platini made a brief visit to Athens to look at the progress being made in the ongoing investigation into match-fixing in the professional leagues, as well as measures taken to combat violence on and off the pitch.

"In this direction there will be upcoming visits by four UEFA groups dealing with match-fixing, doping, violence on the pitch and refereeing," added Geroulanos.

"These visits will help the Greek state and the federation in receiving the proper knowhow to address these phenomena."

The domestic Athens News Agency, quoting government sources, said Platini did not ask the Greek government for specific measures to be taken but that the meeting was more "a confirmation of the willingness of both sides to co-operate on the basis of how to clean up the sport and restore its credibility".


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