Monday, December 4, 2023

Greece ex-captain Zagorakis expelled from political group amid football turmoil

© European Union 2018 - Source : EP / Pablo GARRIGOS
Thodoris Zagorakis / CULT committee meeting - Structural and Financial Barriers in the Access to Culture - Adoption of draft report

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Thodoris Zagorakis, MEP of European People’s Party (EPP) was expelled from Greece’s ruling party of New Democracy group in the European Parliament, following a decision by the Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, the government’s spokesperson Stelios Petsas said last week.
“The government respects the self-governance in football. But it cannot be blackmailed. The prime minister has decided to remove Zagorakis from New Democracy’s group in the European Parliament,” said Petsas.
The Greek MEP and once President of PAOK, had slammed earlier through his Facebook page, the proposal by the Committee of Professional Sports (PSC) in Greece to relegate the football clubs of PAOK and Xanthi.
Following a complaint by the rival team of Olympiacos Piraeus, PSC ruled that PAOK’s President Ivan Savvidis was involved in “multi-ownership,” which is against the rules of professional football in Greece, as the team of Xanthi had an “unlawfully composed” registration.
This would mean that the two teams will have to be downgraded and thus, play in a lower championship league.
In case PAOK is excluded from the Superleague, the country’s top football league, Zagorakis, the captain of the Greek national team that won the UEFA Euro championship in 2004, had announced that he would step down from the New Democracy party, considering it responsible of undermining greek football organisations.
On Wednesday, the Greek Parliament approved a controversial legal amendment that changes the penalty for cases of infringement of ownership rules, from relegation to a deduction of 5-10 points.
Having assumed office as an MEP of the European People’s Party in 2014, Zagorakis will probably leave the New Democracy Party and keep his EP post, as an independent member.

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