Panel of judges order him to stand down as chairman of Olympiakos. Marinakis declares his innocence and insists he will be cleared.
The Nottingham Forest owner, Evangelos Marinakis, has been charged with criminal match-fixing offences in Greece and ordered by a panel of judges to stand down as chairman of the Athens club Olympiakos. Marinakis, a shipowner, took over at Forest in May while the long-running investigation into alleged corruption and match-fixing in Greek football was still proceeding. He has been charged with match-fixing along with 27 other people, who include shareholders and officials in several Greek clubs as well as ex-referees and officials of the Greek football association.
Marinakis was ordered to stand down as Olympiakos chairman by 23 November but the charges are unlikely to affect his freedom to continue his ownership and running of Forest. The Football League’s rules requiring owners and directors to be “fit and proper” people, which are under review, currently bar a person who has been convicted of a criminal offence involving dishonesty. Somebody under criminal investigation, or subject to criminal charges or prosecution, remains free to own a club and is considered fit and proper until conviction.
The review of the rules, which the league outlined in September, follows supporters’ protests against the actions of owners at clubs including Blackpool, Leyton Orient and Coventry City. The league’s clubs are being asked to consider whether the rules should be broadened to set out owners’ responsibilities and require good standards of conduct; the review does not appear to have suggested widening the scope of the rules to include barring people facing criminal proceedings.
Marinakis issued a defiant statement on the Olympiakos website declaring his innocence and stating the judicial panel had cleared him of other serious charges. Made in a report by the Athens prosecutor, these allegations had included membership of a criminal organisation, fraud, extortion and arson, relating to an accusation that Marinakis was involved in blowing up a bakery owned by a referee. The Football League did closely scrutinise the proceedings against Marinakis before clearing him to take over Forest from the Kuwaiti businessman Fawaz al-Hasawi.
Marinakis said he will be standing down as the Olympiakos chairman, while rejecting the charges as “absolutely unfounded”, motivated by “envy”, and promising that he would be cleared.
“I am certain that my innocence with regard to these remaining charges will be demonstrated by the judicial process that will ensue, fully exonerating me,” he said.
Forest had not responded to the news, or a request for a comment, at the time of writing.
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