Kontonis announces changes to the bill on sport violence

Kontonis announces changes to the bill on sport violence

Athens, April 30, 2015/ Independent Balkan News Agency

By Spiros Sideris

A number of amendments to the draft law against sport violence, announced the Greek Sports Minister, Stavros Kontonis, within the approach and positions that had been submitted in writing by FIFA and UEFA.

More specifically, in regard with imposing fines for causing violent episodes and racist behaviour (a right granted by Article 1 of the bill to the minister responsible for sports), Kontonis said these sanctions will be imposed after taking into account the position of ELAS and the Standing Violence Tackling Committee (DEAV). In the case that the ministerial decree involves stopping the championship, or the banning of a teams grounds, the decision will be taken after consultation with the Greek Football Federation (EPO) and the opinions of DEAV – and where there is the possibility of banning Greek teams from European championships, the decision would be taken after consultation with the International Federations.

For the latter, Kontonis stated that FIFA and UEFA were asked to have exclusive jurisdiction to exclude the team from international competitions – something he did not accept, but accept a prior “consultation” with them.

Moreover, the Deputy Minister of Sports stated that the minister will be entitled to impose the (maximum) penalty of 25 million euros provided for in the bill, only in case of violation of the ban on the participation of a team in an international organisation, and “depending on the severity the infringement”, in order for the penalty to provide a counterweight to the economic benefits that the team may have by ignoring the ban.

The Article 5 of the bill provides for the imposition of the contribution fee of 1-3% on tickets of games of professional football, basketball and volleyball leagues, to cover government expenditure involving judicial officers in disciplinary and judicial bodies. In regard to this, EPO opposed the argument of “the economic hardship and inability of small clubs to find the funds”, and in return Kontonis said he is considering postponing the implementation of the measure for two years.

Another legislative amendment on Article 7 of the bill, which requires the EPO to transmit “without delay” to the competent minister, the reports received by UEFA and FIFA on matches that are suspected of manipulation. On that, EPO asked for the same to apply on information coming to the knowledge of the General Secretariat of Sports and to likewise inform them” – something Kontonis accepted.

About the provision that requires the teams to designate as their seat stadiums that have electronic monitoring installed, The River yesterday had counterposed to allow teams to play in stadiums that lack such systems, but behind closed doors – until they place them.

Kontonis rejected the proposal saying: “We want the games to be with fans in stadiums – and limit their conduct behind closed doors, only in cases where there is a serious problem”, said the sports minister. “If we grant them the option proposed by the River, they will never install the system. Currently, the most revenue derive from the contracts signed by TV rights”, Kontonis observed.

Finally, the minister accepted yesterday’s proposal by Evi Christofilopoulou (PASOK), to make a reference to the self-governing function of EPO, sayng he has “no problem” to integrate a relevant yesterday’s statement in the explanatory memorandum of the bill.

According to the statement, football matters and the organisation of the operation of the football federation, “are regulated by the EPO within its self-governing operation and in accordance with the statutes and regulations that are harmonised with the Constitution, the legislation and Regulations of the global and European confederation, of which EPO is a member”.