IOC Warns Greek Olympic Ban Over SYRIZA Political Interference

Greece – the country which created the Olympics – faces being barred from this year’s games in Brazil because of a bill the International Olympic Committee (IOC) says interferes with the any Greek sports federation.

That warning came at the same time that soccer’s international governing bodies FIFA, and Europe’s UEFA, said the Greek national soccer would also be banned from play outside the country because the government cancelled the championship game after violence in previous games.

A report in in Greece’s Goal News said that national sports bodies, including the basketball organization, are furious that the SYRIZA-led government will put before Parliament a measure that will set a limit to the period of time a sports official can spend as a board member for any sport federation, expected to be eight years.

The bill, expected in the House in May, will also open up the electorate for the election of board members to make it more democratic, the government said.

The report said reliable sources the international federations have alerted the IOC and complained the government is tampering and getting politically involved in sports and that IOC head Thomas Bach was informed. If Greece is excluded that would end a tradition of the country being the first to open the games.

The international federations said the bill being drafted by Deputy Minister for Sports Stavros Kontonis was “political,” and it was said the IOC wouldn’t hesitate to exclude Greece from the Olympics.

That comes as the Greek Olympic team has faced constant cuts in its budget and gave one of its worst showings ever at the 2012 games in London.

Kathimerini said the Hellenic Olympic Committee is also upset about the bill, as at least the clause on the limit set to the mandate of board members is seen as contravening the Greek Constitution.

The press report also said FIBA will back the Hellenic Basketball Federation (EOK) by threatening the government with an immediate exclusion of the Greek teams from all international competitions, as FIFA did for soccer.