FIFA, football’s world governing body, has warned that Greek clubs face being banned from European competitions, namely the UEFA Champions League and the UEFA Europa League, unless action is taken to improved Greek football’s reputation.
Herbert Hubel, the head of the FIFA committee set up last summer to monitor the Greek football federation, told a press conference in Athens "The Grexit that looked distant is no longer. Greek football reached the edge of the cliff," in reference to last week’s embarrassing scenes in Thessaloniki between PAOK and AEK. With the match poised at 0-0, PAOK’s former president Ivan Savvidis stormed the pitch with what appeared to be a gun in his pocket after the referee had disallowed a goal for PAOK.
The threat from FIFA is similar to the ban imposed on English clubs back in 1985 following the Heysel Stadium. Thirty-nine fans, mainly Italians, had died in the disaster at the Brussels stadium after crowd trouble had erupted prior to the UEFA Champions League Final (then known as the European Cup Final) between Liverpool and Juventus.
Greek football has long been known for hooliganism and corruption and successive governments have so far failed to clean up the game.