Greek referees to boycott league games after violent attacks

boycott Greek Referees

In a bold move, Greek referees and match officials declared on Tuesday that they would boycott officiating any Super League matches beginning from the upcoming weekend. Their decision stems from concerns over what they perceive as perilous working conditions.

The landscape of Greek football has been marred by crowd disturbances, allegations of corruption, and match-fixing, leading to widespread discontent and a decline in attendance at matches. Referees in Greece often find themselves targeted by violent attacks from fans, with incidents ranging from physical assaults to arson, including the recent firebombing of Athens referee Andreas Gamaris's shop.

Just days ago, another referee, Tasos Papapetrou, allegedly received death threats following his officiation of a Super League game. The escalating threats and attacks on referees prompted a collective response from the Super League referees, who addressed a letter to the central refereeing committee and the Greek Football Association.

"In the past years, Greek and foreign referees... have been a permanent target, a punching bag and a scapegoat in shifting responsibilities," Super League referees said in a letter to the central refereeing committee and the Greek Football Association.

"Announcements that go unpunished, bullying, threats, verbal and physical attacks... are just some of the issues that have made football toxic."

Club presidents also regularly comment on specific referees, even prior to matches, and in previous seasons the Super League has brought in foreign referees to allow top division matches to continue.

"As a result the referees and assistant referees of the first division (Super League) have decided not to officiate any match starting from the 14th matchday (on the weekend) until conditions are appropriate for our own safety."

"With this action we aim to protect ourselves and our families," the letter said, asking also for a meeting with Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis.

Copyright Greekcitytimes 2024