Olympiakos boss on match-fixing charges
ATHENS, Greece (AP):
The chairman of Greek soccer club Olympiakos and 27 other businessmen and former sporting officials will stand trial on match-fixing charges, a panel of judges ruled yesterday.
The judges ordered Olympiakos chairman Vangelis Marinakis to stand trial. No date was set, and the conditions for his bail were extended. Marinakis, a prominent Greek shipowner and news-media investor, denied the allegations, while criminal charges against him for fraud and blackmail were dropped.
"My innocence will be established in the court proceedings that are to follow," Marinakis said in a statement.
Marinakis said he would step aside as chairman until he is cleared in court, and named deputy chairman Yiannis Moralis as caretaker.
The other defendants - all charged with similar offences - include shareholders and former and current officials in several Greek clubs as well as former referees and Greek soccer association officials.
Professional football in Greece has long been marred by fan violence and allegations of corruption, with rival club officials frequently having public spats and openly questioning refereeing decisions considered key to match outcomes.
The country's current left-wing government has suspended league matches several times because of violence and attacks against match officials.