For­est bought by con­tro­ver­sial Greek Mari­nakis

New Straits Times - - Sport -

LON­DON: Greek ship­ping mag­nate Evan­ge­los Mari­nakis who is ac­cused of match-fix­ing in Greece where he is the owner of gi­ants Olympiakos bought twotime Euro­pean Cup win­ners Not­ting­ham For­est on Thurs­day.

The 49-year-old — who heads up a con­sor­tium with com­pa­triot Socrates Kom­i­nakis — has also been ac­cused in the past of be­ing in­volved in the bomb­ing of a bak­ery owned by a ref­eree al­though no ac­tion was taken.

De­spite the ac­cu­sa­tions, Mari­nakis has passed the English Foot­ball League’s owner’s and di­rec­tors’ test bring­ing the cur­tain down on the trou­bled five year ten­ure of Kuwaiti Fawaz Al Ha­sawi, but UEFA are still mon­i­tor­ing the Greek case and await­ing the out­come.

“All these years, a lot has been said but noth­ing came out in re­al­ity,” Mari­nakis told the BBC.

“All of it has been dis­missed and we have been clear from all of this.

“Now there is a last case re­main­ing — there are about 80 per­sons in­volved.

“I can tell you again that I have noth­ing to do with it be­cause I know very well what I have done and how I have achieved vic­to­ries.

“Of course I can­not stop our op­po­nents talk­ing or bad­mouthing.”

Mari­nakis, un­der whose aegis Olympiakos have won seven league titles since he be­came owner in 2010, said For­est de­serve to be in the Premier League but ac­cepted that it may take time — they only avoided rel­e­ga­tion to the third tier League One on the last day of the sea­son.

“We have a long-term plan and within this long-term plan we want to bring Not­ting­ham to where it be­longs,” said Mari­nakis, who was ed­u­cated in Eng­land from the age of 15.

“And of course Not­ting­ham be­longs in the Premier League. And Not­ting­ham be­longs to the elite of the Premier League.”

Mari­nakis has also placed his faith in present man­ager Mark War­bur­ton who will en­deav­our to spark the re­vival and be­gin the process of a re­turn to the Premier League which they have not played in since be­ing rel­e­gated in 1999. AFP

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