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Greek football suspended after alleged arson attack on refs chief

All domestic football competitions in Greece have been suspended in the wake of an alleged arson attack on the home of referees’ chief Giorgos Bikas, national governing body the Hellenic Football Federation (EPO) has announced.

Bikas, who is the head of refereeing committee KED, and his family were not at the property in Chalkidiki when it was hit by a “suspicious fire” in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

The provisional executive committee of the EPO has informed Greece’s representative to FIFA and UEFA, Koutsokoumnis Kostakis, of its decision following an extraordinary meeting.

A statement from the EPO said it “denounced the destruction of [Bikas’] home in Chalkidiki from a suspicious fire, the causes of which are being investigated by the fire service.”

The statement continued: “The interim steering committee of the EPO decided at an extraordinary meeting on the suspension of conducting all national football championships [until] the announcement of results of the investigation of the fire causes by the fire service, when it will reconsider its stance.

“The EDP expresses its full solidarity to Mr Giorgos Bikas, whom it will support in every way.” 

Last week, Bikas and fellow KED member Dimitris Kalyvas agreed to step down in support of colleague Ioannis Tsachilidis, who was threatened by two men at his home.

Leading clubs Olympiacos and PAOK offered support to the KED in statements after the latest setback in a turbulent period for Greek football.

The start of the top-flight season was postponed for two weeks in September by the government as part of an ongoing dispute over referee selection between itself, the EPO and Greek clubs.

The suspension of football in Greece does not extend to Wednesday’s friendly with Belarus, Sunday’s World Cup qualifier against Bosnia-Herzegovina or teams participating in the Europa League.

Wed 9 Nov, 2016
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