UEFA president pledges aid to Greece to clean up football

10:19, July 27, 2011      

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Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) President Michel Platini pledged aid to Greece to clean up the sport, following a string of match-fixing, doping and violence scandals, during a one-day visit to Athens on Tuesday.

"Our aim is to support the Greek Football Federation so that the Greek football will return on the proper path," said Platini, after talks with Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou and other Greek officials over issues that trouble the sport in the country.

Last June the Greek football was rocked by revelations that over 80 persons, among them heads of super league teams, managers, referees, coaches and athletes are under investigation for match-fixing from Greek authorities in collaboration with UEFA over some dozen suspicious results last season. At least six people have been charged.

It is not the first time that such a scandal mars football in Greece. Doping scandals and violent clashes among fans of clubs inside and outside the stadiums, have troubled Greek authorities for years.

The French European football head pledged that UEFA will send a team of experts on these issues to Greece this August to discuss with local authorities ways to counter the problems. Among them will be the famous Italian referee Pierluigi Collina, said Platini.

As a former football top player himself, Platini appeared in particular strict with athletes involved in scandals, stressing his determination to do whatever possible that players who are found guilty for match-fixing will get maximum punishments.

He asked the press though to be cautious with allegations against persons who could be proved innocent in court, noting that media many times focus on the negative side of the sport, "overlooking the million beautiful moments in football".

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