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The contemporary Greek decadency and Mr. Marinakis The contemporary Greek decadency and Mr. Marinakis
by Thanos Kalamidas
2011-06-28 07:57:16
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Some time in the beginning of March this year I wrote an article where I was pointing how much the situation of the Greek football mirrors the crisis the Greek society suffers the last few decades with the financial crisis been the peak of an iceberg that unfortunately goes very deep. And in the middle of the summer a scandals’ explosion in the Greek football came to emphasize exactly that; the Greek problem is far beyond the financial situation and the financial situation is a result of the social problems. Actually to describe the situation I used the example of a football team owner Mr. Vangelis Marinakis which to my opinion mirrors perfectly the decadency of the Greek society, social structure and reality as it has evoluted the last forty years.

Of course Mr. Marinakis is not responsible for the situation in Greece but he and people like him helped a lot. Mr. Marinakis is a businessman or at least his late father was a good businessman who made a lot of money as a ship-owner. Mr. Marinakis – a pure creation of eighties – decided to expand his business and his wealth beyond the sea but to do so he needed certain guarantees – the Greek way - that could be offered only with political support and legal immunity plus tolerance from the state the way the Greek state works the last few decades. The first move was his involvement with media, he bought shares in radio stations, newspapers and magazines, he expanded his influence to other media houses with a little friendly financial help and finally he bought a football team that controls a huge number of fanatic fans that can go to any extremes for their team. Extremes that include to be manipulated to support and vote certain politicians just because they support their team or because their president shows his support to them and remember that here we are talking about a team that numbers over a million supporters.

And as it is natural power corrupts and so much power in the hands of somebody who thinks that this is the way to increase his wealth and the same time has the cynicism to blackmail politicians, absolute corrupts. And Olympiakos F.C., Mr. Marinakis team has a rich past with corruption; two former presidents having served long prison terms for economic crimes and a former president suspected for a series of corruption crimes – the Siemens corruption scandal with long roots in Greece has expanded from USA to Germany and he was the company’s agent in Greece – but was never touched or seriously questioned, perhaps with a little help from politicians and the power of a football team’s fans.

And if absolute power corrupts, greed has no limits. Most of the people who follow football know that most of the football teams especially everywhere in Europe – including super-teams like Real Madrid or Manchester United –are deeply indebted with tens of millions of Euros, so why to invest in a football team? Franchising is one thing and it is the legal part of the business, influence – especially political influence with all those fans behind – is another thing, not necessary illegal but definitely unethical. And then is betting and this is in the limits of illegal. Imagine been a member of a very private club where only GMs of all the main companies that form the international stock market are members and you can play in the stock market. That’s called inside information with guarantied profit. Imagine now that you can actually manipulate the moves of this market, then we are talking about …millions if not billions profit. And this is what the Greek football scandal is all about and in this club Mr. Marinakis is president and coincidentally the manipulation of games didn’t only help his team but perhaps also helped his pocket.

The situation in Greece is tragic and there is doubt for every single Greek institution including justice. And this is the golden chance for both, the justice and the state to prove that things are changing. That there is independent justice and that there are no corrupted politicians or judges, but men and women  ready to make the difference doesn’t matter who’s on the other side and what he/she represents or how many votes he/she can manipulate. Of course it was a golden chance for the government and the timing perfect. The moment new economic measures are coming with a severe austerity plan, a scandal in football can easily disorientates the people and it is natural for a government that sees its popularity reaching the lowest possible point to use it. The trench knife in this case is that in their rush to create this new reality – perhaps for disorientating reasons – they were to fast to act and as a result the accusations are not legally solid and as a result the whole thing could blow like a hot balloon. In this case it is not only the Greek football that is going to be hurt but everything else including the Greek justice and I’m afraid under the general circumstances this moment the damage will be lethal.

As a sequence the corruption power and the greed bring, Mr. Marinakis added to his picture arrogance, feeling that he’s above everything provocatively demanding from the justice to act fast and call him soon to tell them that he’s innocent and finish with the whole thing. And since everybody is innocent before proven guilty, I’m ready to believe that Mr. Marinakis will legally prove his innocence but his acts the last few years – acts motivated and preformed inside the corruption food chain – make him guilty to every single ethical law. And the Greek crisis hasn’t got its roots in the law books but in a deformed ethic that corrupted the society and created the iceberg with the economy as its peak.

Mr. Marinakis, as I wrote in the beginning of this article, is not the reason for the Greek crisis but he’s definitely part of it and the youth of his age makes the whole thing far more disturbing,  mirroring the true crisis of the Greek society’s structure. Unfortunately the last decades Greece is full in every level with Machiavellian caricatures like Mr. Marinakis, that have manage to crunch the foundations of this nation and if the beginning of the clearance must be football, then this is the best chance and I hope they make the best of it. As far Mr. Marinakis himself, there is a saying in Greece, it is better to lose an eye than your reputation. And Mr. Marinakis has lost any credibility in every single level and I’m afraid if he will not retreat from the public eye – considering that he’s innocent to all accusations - soon he will loose even his business credibility and in the business world this is worst than loosing both eyes.

As far the Greek football the truth is that just like the Greek society it needs a radical restart and if that means keeping away from international or European …games then they’ve better do so doesn’t matter the sequences for the others’ pockets - allies or foes - in every level. After all it’s only money!


    
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george p2013-06-20 18:54:05
bravosas k.kalamida


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