THE HALF DECENT FOOTBALL MAGAZINE

1 December ~ Greek football was in a parlous state three months ago. So how do things stand now? The Super League finally has its full complement of 16 teams. Kavala and Olympiakos Volou lost their appeals and were replaced by Doxa Dramas and Levadiakos, who finished fourth and fifth in last season's second tier. Kavala are in the fourth tier, while Olympiakos Volou – who had were expelled from the Europa League qualifiers – are currently inactive. Iraklis also lost their appeal against insolvency and false accounting, so they too are in the fourth tier, while Asteras Tripolis survived a bribery allegation and remain in the Super League.

Some teams have played up to 11 matches, others fewer. Doxa Dramas and Levadiakos are only just beginning their programmes. There is a lot of midweek catching up to do. One result of all this change has been that for a time the table was led by the unfashionable Athens club Atromitos.

The second tier, known as the Football League, began on October 28. Among the 18 teams are Larissa and Panserraikos, who were relegated from the Super League, some "survivors", and teams promoted from the third tier either on merit or to make up the numbers. The third tier started on November 27. Normally the two groups would have at least 16 teams each, but they are down to 11 and 12 respectively. These are the only teams that have been granted professional licences. Many of them are new to this level and are probably unknown to even Greek fans.

The fourth tier, with its 10 groups ranging from 12 to 15 clubs, began on November 6. As well as Iraklis and Kavala, it houses some other relatively big names, among them Ionikos of Piraeus, who were regulars in the Super League until a few years ago. Some of these teams find themselves where they are as a result of the match-fixing scandal, and others because they could no longer continue as professional clubs. A number of clubs seem to have disappeared altogether.

It is a chaotic situation. How much it was caused by the severe crisis in which Greece currently finds itself and how much by dishonesty within the upper echelons of the game, which has been rife since long before the crisis, is difficult to say. But given the links between football and politics, which was also riven by corruption long before the crisis hit, it is no coincidence that the two have come to a head more or less at the same time. Richard Mason

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