Olympiakos v Arsenal in the Europa: a history of corruption; what can we expect

by Tony Attwood

Olympiakos v Arsenal is the tie drawn for us in the round of the last 32 in the Europa League in 2020.   And of course, as ever, if we think of Olympiakos and indeed Greek football, we think of corruption, so I thought I would try and update the occasional articles we’ve run over the years on corruption in Greek football.

Except, I have a problem.   I’ve written odds and ends about “Koriopolis”, the big match-fixing scandal which started in 2011, but contrary to what many expected, in that case almost everyone was found innocent after eight years of legal process surrounding 100 suspects.  11 were found guilty of minor offences.

The media in Greece were not convinced by this outcome not least because of the scope of the allegations which included illegal gambling, fraud, extortion and money laundering, involved the league and a number of clubs, plus their presidents.   These are powerful people with an awful lot of friends in high places.

Perhaps because everyone was innocent, or perhaps because of something more nefarious, only the former president of Ilioupoli, (one of the implicated clubs), Giorgos Tsakoyiannis was given a prison sentence, and that was suspended.

But of course, Koriopolis wasn’t all there was for in 2015 telephone taps revealed another case which involved the owner of Olympiacos, Vangelis Marinakis.   Those charges were then dropped, although charges against others have continued.

This case relates to taking control of Greek football through blackmail and fraud.  As ever the accused are referees, judges, and club chairmen.  These cases are wending their way through the courts but the chances of a conviction seem small after the Supreme Court in Greece dismissed all charges against Marinakis in March last year.   Mostly these related to match-fixing and the creation of a criminal organisation.

Gianni Infantino, the Uefa general secretary in 2015 gave Olympiakos a clean bill of health as did the Court of Arbitration for Sport, so the club has continued to play in Champions League games.

But interestingly having won the league in Greece seven years running from 2011 to 2017 inclusive, Olympiacos failed to take the title in 2018 (when AEK Athens won it for the 12th time).  And again in 2019 when PAOK won it for only the third time in their history.  (Olympiacos have won it 44 times, so they cant really complain).

And at the moment Olympiacos are in with a strong chance of a 45th title being at the top of the league and undefeated.  Here’s the table – our opponents have not lost a game thus far.

# Team P W D L F A GD Pts Last 5 matches
1 24 18 6 0 50 9 +41 60 W W W D W
2 24 18 4 2 49 21 +28 58 W W L W W
3 24 14 5 5 38 21 +17 47 W W W D W
4 24 11 7 6 30 21 +9 40 W L W W W

Olympiacos played in the qualifying rounds of the Champions League beating Istanbul Basakesehir in the third qualifying round and Krasnodar in the play off round.  They then found themselves in the same group as Tottenham and Bayern Munich coming third in that group and so moving into the Europa.

Pos Team Pld W D L F A GD Pts
1 Bayern Munich 6 6 0 0 24 5 +19 18
2 Tottenham Hotspur 6 3 1 2 18 14 +4 10
3 Olympiacos 6 1 1 4 8 14 −6 4
4 Red Star Belgrade 6 1 0 5 3 20 −17 3

Here is the full draw for the first knock out round of the Europa League.   The club named second play at home in the second match.

  • Apoel v Basel
    AZ Alkmaar v LASK
    Bayer Leverkusen v Porto
    Brugge v Manchester United
    Cluj v Sevilla
    Copenhagen v Celtic
    Eintracht Frankfurt v RB Salzburg
    Getafe v Ajax
    Ludogorets v Internazionale
    Olympiakos v Arsenal
    Rangers v Braga
    Roma v Gent
    Shakhtar Donetsk v Benfica
    Sporting v Istanbul Basaksehir
    Wolfsburg v Malmö
    Wolves v Espanyol

5 Replies to “Olympiakos v Arsenal in the Europa: a history of corruption; what can we expect”

  1. Mesut didn’t travel to Greece because of a personal issue. Which is fine.

    Some newspaper has let the cat out of the bag. Mesut’s wife is due to give birth soon. First child.

    Best of luck on that Mesut and Amine!


    YES, in as much as the Creek football at the top level could had been anchored on corruption to corruptly be succeeding, but notwithstanding this ill, Arsenal have no business whatsoever to indulge in any corrupt practice tonight on and off the field to make progress in the competition when they engage Olympiakos at away in the round of 32 match encounter in the Europa League Cup competition this season.

    And if all things being in order with the Gunners tonight, I cannot see any reason why they shouldn’t come away with a win in the the match despite that Olympiakos are at home playing before their partisan home support routing unparalleled support for them. But rather than this home support that is partisan demoralising Arsenal in the match, I think it will motivate them to a great action in the match exclusively playing the kind of escucite football that Olympiakos cannot cope with nor understand it but crumble to the superior fire power of Arsenal in the game as they start the match with all their big guns but 2 who have gone eccentric in playing despite their being at small guns level. But this is premised on if Mikel Arteta the Gunners boss will agree with me to start my below Arsenal starting XI for the match.

    My 424 Arsenal starts and bench for the match are as below.

    Bellerin Luiz Mustafi Saka;
    Xhaka Ceballos;
    Pepe LacazetteMartinelli Auba’.

    Leno AMN Mari Sokratis Guendouzi Willock Nkethia.

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