Hellenic Football Federation
The Hellenic Football Federation (HFF); also known as the Greek Football Federation (Greek: Ελληνική Ποδοσφαιρική Ομοσπονδία – (EΠO)) is the governing body of football in Greece. It contributes in the organisation of Super League Greece and organizes the Greek football Cup and the Greece national football team. It is based in Athens.
The Hellenic Football Federation was founded in 1926, by a decision of the three major Unions of the country (Athens, Piraeus, Thessalonica). Its foundation marked the organization of Greek football in compliance with international standards. Since then, the HFF has grown into the biggest sports federation in Greece, as football in the country is regarded as the "king of sports" coming first in the preferences of sports fans.
The HFF is considered a private legal entity and a non-profit organization with registered offices in Athens. It is the only exclusively qualified body in Greece to represent the interests of Greek football and prohibits any political, religious or racial discrimination.
In 1927, the HFF became a member of FIFA and in 1954 became one of the first members of UEFA. Amongst its obligations as member of international sports bodies, the HFF accepts the statutes, regulations, directives and decisions issued by FIFA and UEFA and. The HFF also has to ensure that they are accepted by all individuals and clubs in Greek football.
On 3 July 2006, FIFA ruled that the Hellenic Football Federation was failing to adhere to the principles of the FIFA statutes regarding federations' political independence, and as a result the HFF was indefinitely suspended from international football. In response Greek officials put forward a proposed change in the law, however FIFA ruled that it too constituted an interference of the government in matters that should be under the football federation's jurisdiction. Based on this FIFA concluded that Greece would not be able to meet its 15 July 2006 deadline and should therefore be suspended until further notice. The suspension would have meant that Greek clubs would not be allowed to participate in international competitions and that the Greek national team would not be able to participate in any international matches. There were also doubts cast over whether the 2007 UEFA Champions League Final will be played at the Athens Olympic Stadium as previously scheduled.
On the 7 July 2006, however, the Greek Government ratified a new version of the sports law, granting the HFF independence – and thus adherence to FIFA statutes. FIFA announced the lifting of its ban that day, judging that the amendments adhered to FIFA and UEFA statutes. This allowed Greece to defend their European Championship in 2008 and also allowed Greek clubs to participate in European competitions.
On December 11, 2008, president Vassilis Gagatsis resigned from his position, after 8 years as president. New elections were held on January 17, 2009, making Giorgos Sarris the new president. The election of Giorgos Sarris to the Presidency of the HFF was controversial, with reports claiming that the election was not clean and fair, with the owner of Olympiacos FC, Evangelos Marinakis, allegedly using his power to help appoint Sarris to the position.
In April 2013, the HFF announced its new partnership with NIKE, which also became the official supplier of clothes and equipment for the Greek National Team. On the eve of the announcement, Giorgos Sarris praised the new partnership hoping that “it will contribute to the overall advancement of domestic football”.
2015 Greek football scandal
In 2011, the reputation of the HFF was challenged as a result of its role in the Koriopolis match fixing scandal. The incident first came to light after UEFA issued a report, which drew attention to 40 games that were rigged in Greek football in the 2009-2010 season. The investigation by Greek authorities that followed, involving the use of telephone recordings, illustrated that club presidents, HFF president Giorgos Sarris, referees and players were involved in violence and match fixing. The initial probe into the incident involved approximately 80 individuals suspected of wrongdoing. Olympiacos FC owner, Evangelos Marinakis, was also accused of using his position in Greek football and special relationship with the President of the HFF, to appoint favorable referees to matches.
The investigation into the Koriopolis incident entered its final phase in 2014 under the lead of Deputy Prosecutor of the Court of First Instance, Aristidis Koreas, who began to take depositions from HFF officials, club chairmen and referees. Some of the individuals questioned have already admitted to the existence of a criminal organization in Greek football, “with the aim of controlling the game”. There have yet to be any sentences issued. In September 2014, Olivier Kapo, a former player of Levadiakos F.C., confirmed the alleged existence of a criminal organization within the Greek football industry, when he stated in the French press that in Greek football, “everything is corrupted [and] mafia-controlled.”
On October 3, 2014, Aristidis Koreas, the prosecutor in leading the case against match fixing was unexpectedly removed from the investigation.
The HFF has also been subject to allegations of other crimes including blackmail and tax evasion. In November 2013, a team of prosecutors raided the headquarters of the Federation in order to find evidence of illegal activity. There have been allegations that some of the teams have failed to pay their taxes by submitting fake documents.
- 1926: Foundation of the Hellenic Football Federation
- 1927: The Hellenic Football Federation becomes a member of FIFA
- 1954: The Hellenic Football Federation becomes one of the founding members of UEFA
- 2004: The Greek National Team wins the 2004 European Championship in Portugal
H.F.F. has organised major football events with huge success. The most important "moments", as to the participating clubs, are:
- 1971: Cup Winners Cup final, Chelsea-Real Madrid(1–0)
- 1973: Cup Winners Cup final, AC Milan-Leeds United (1–0)
- 1983: European Cup final Hamburg-Juventus (1–0)
- 1987: Cup Winners Cup final, Lokomotive Leipzig-Ajax (0–1)
- 1994: Champions League final AC Milan-Barcelona (4–0)
- 2007: Champions League Final AC Milan-Liverpool (2–1)
The structure of H.F.F. is pyramid shaped. It is based on 2.000.000 football players and 5.773 football clubs, 3.700 from which are actively participating in official competitions of every kind, that take place throughout the country, covering all ages. The clubs come under the fifty three (53) Regional Unions of Football Clubs. The professional competitions are being organized by the Professional League (Greek League). H.F.F. is the supreme football authority, the one that all the clubs and professional teams come under and forms the top of the pyramid.
The General Assembly, convening once a year, is actually the H.F.F. parliament. It is the Assembly that -according to the Statutes- decides on everything about Greek Football. They can change the Statutes and the regulations of the Federation, enforce new ones, audit the financial review for the previous fiscal year and the budget for the year to come, vote (every four years) and monitor the Administration's work.
The divisions of H.F.F. are: The Sporting Division, the Management Division, the Finance and Marketing Division, the International Relations Division, and the Press and Mass Media Division.
The operation of H.F.F. relies on the above-mentioned divisions that function on the responsibility of their respective managers, as much as, the Committees of the Executive Board, which, according to the Statutes of the Federation, are the following:
- The Disciplinary Committee (first and second instance)
- The Appeal Committee
- The Financial Dispute Resolution Committee (second instance)
- The Central Referee's Committee, which comprises three members and controls the entire referee field in Greece
- The Players' Status-Transfer Committee
1. Regulations Committee
2. International Relations Committee
3. Technical Committee
4. Greek Cup Committee
5. Procurements Committee
6. Divisions Committee
7. Selections Team Committee
8. Mass Media and Public Relations Committee
9. Legal Matters Committee
10. Violence Committee
11. Medical Committee
12. International Amateur Football Committee
13. Amateur Football Committee
14. Licensing Committee
15. Football Managers Committee
16. Training Board
17. Futsal (indoor football) Committee
18. Finance Committee
19. Statistics and Stadium Committee
20. Youth Amateur Football Committee
21. Women's Football Committee
The H.F.F. is responsible for doping control in all the Greek championships.
- "History of Greek Football". Retrieved October 31, 2014.
- Sky Sports
- UEFA Champions League
- Fifa-Sperre Griechische Regierung lenkt ein – Spiegel Online
- Gagatsis resigns as EPO president[dead link]
- "Broken promises – the sad tale of Greek football". October 2, 2014. Retrieved October 31, 2014.
- "Europe's Football Battlefield". September 26, 2014. Retrieved October 31, 2014.
- "Nike and Hellenic Football Federation announce partnership". April 10, 2013. Retrieved October 31, 2014.
- "Prosecutors examine EPO's Illegal Activities". November 15, 2013.
- "Football fixing scandal rocks Greek elite". June 24, 2011. Retrieved October 31, 2014.
- "Dozens named in Greece football 'scandal'". June 25, 2011. Retrieved October 31, 2014.
- "Greek soccer officials in refereeing probe to face prosecutor on Sept 15". August 20, 2014. Retrieved October 31, 2014.
- "The alleged corruption of Evangelos Marinakis and the press that refuses to report on it". Retrieved October 31, 2014.
- "Greece and the financial politics of football". October 21, 2014. Retrieved October 31, 2014.
- "Probe into Greek soccer corruption gathers pace". July 8, 2014. Retrieved October 31, 2014.
- "Soccer refereeing investigation goes into final stage". August 23, 2014. Retrieved October 31, 2014.
- "Olivier Kapo:" En Grèce, c'est la mafia totale !"" (in French). September 3, 2014. Retrieved October 31, 2014.
- "Officials probing Greek soccer corruption removed from cases". October 3, 2014. Retrieved October 31, 2014.
- "Greek corruption undermining recovery". October 28, 2014. Retrieved October 31, 2014.