Greek oligarchs battle over football league

by Kerin Hope

Financial Times

February 7, 2020

One of the Greek oligarchs is dubbed the Kremlin’s man because of his links with Vladimir Putin. The other is a shipping magnate and the proprietor of a media empire.

But their wealth and influence has not stopped Ivan Savvidis and Vangelis Marinakis getting sucked into a bitter argument over football.

The feud between the two men burst into the political arena when Greece’s centre-right government intervened unexpectedly to legislate to settle a row over their rival teams.

Greece’s independent sports authority last week called for the relegation of Mr Savvidis’s PAOK, the country’s top team, amid a row over ownership. Two days later, the government pushed through an emergency law that effectively prevented the relegation but docked Mr Savvidis’s PAOK of points, a move that is likely to ensure that Mr Marinakis’s Olympiakos, its closest rival, will win the championship.

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