Konstantineas: “My bakery was bombed after I refused to commit myself”

While the international football scandal surrounding FIFA and the arrest of its senior officials on corruption charges has shocked the sporting world, the parallel one engulfing Greece yet again seems to be at the forefront of global examples. For it expanded last week as six more Greek players were charged in connection with match-fixing and fraud, bringing the total number of those charged, including managers and referees, to 41. The scandal has seen revelations about a series of dramatic events including phone tapping by Greece's intelligence agency, the involvement of Interpol, the bombing of a referee's premises, and a row erupting between the new Greek government and UEFA and FIFA. However, despite the long-running investigation into match-fixing, no one has yet been jailed. Five people have been sentenced to time in prison but were subsequently freed on appeal. The most high-profile individual alleged to be involved is Olympiacos's majority owner Vangelis Marinakis, a shipping magnate who bought the club in 2010. The evidence against Marinakis has included 100 pages of court-approved interceptions of his phone conversations, conducted by Greece's intelligence agency. Many extracts have been published in the Greek media. Marinakis, a wealthy owner of a fleet of ships and a string of other companies, is facing five preliminary charges: the establishment of a criminal gang, match-fixing, fraud, bribery and perjury.
One of the most dramatic incidents so far has been described by Petros Konstantineas (photo), a former FIFA referee and currently a member of Greek parliament for the governing Syriza party. He testified that in January 2012 he was visited at his bakery in Kalamata, southern Greece, by Theodore Kouridis, a former general counsellor of the Greek Football Federation (EPO). It was the day before he was to referee a game between Xanthi FC and Olympiacos, and Kouridis allegedly told him: "Be careful. Olympiacos must definitely win tomorrow." Konstantineas said he refused to commit himself, and Olympiacos lost 1-0. Three days later, his bakery was stoned by unidentified persons. Four weeks later, a bomb was planted and the bakery was partially destroyed. All parties deny any wrongdoing. The very latest development in Greece was the recent resignation of Christoforos Zografos, the vice-president of the Central Refereeing Committee which selects referees for the premier league's matches. In an official statement, Zografos categorically denied media reports that he was involved in the fixing of matches. He said that his "physical and moral extermination" was being attempted, and he threatened legal action. EPO announced that it will convene on 10 June to decide whether or not to accept his resignation. 

Source: Newsweek