Nottingham Forest may not register with today’s American EPL fan, but the club has one of the richest histories in English football.
While that history has included some hard times and near misses on getting back to the top flight, one man apparently wanted to change that — Greek businessman and Olympiakos owner Evangelos Marinakis.
Those potential ownership plans are going to have to be put on the back burner though, as Marinakis has been charged with a litany of offenses in Greece. As reported by Vice Sports, charges against Marinakis include bribery, fraud, extortion, match-fixing, and the bombing of a bakery belonging to an uncooperative referee.
Marinakis appears to be at the heart of an earth-shattering investigation in to corruption and criminal behavior throughout Greek soccer. That certainly puts in to doubt the reported sale of Forest by current owner Fawaz Al-Hasawi, which was reported by the Daily Mirror back in May.
The investigation goes as deep as to include match referees, other club owners and a former president of the Greek FA as well.
Let’s just say adding this guy to the boardroom of any English football club is not exactly a good look. Yet, should Al-Hasawi continue with the sale to Marinakis there might be nothing the English Football League can do at this time, as he has yet to be convicted of any crime.
The rules of the English Football League state that the Football League Owners and Directors’ Test disqualifies those with an “unspent conviction” for corruption, fraud or perverting the course of justice in a court in England & Wales.
This is extended worldwide for those who receive custodial sentences of 12 months or more.
Perhaps the most disastrous of accounts is that of what happened to former superstar official Petros Konstantineas. He claims that match fixers approached him ahead of an Olympiakos match in 2012 telling him of the outcome.
Konstantineas, who had reached the level of FIFA international official by the time he was in his 30’s wasn’t going to play ball according to reports. The match didn’t get fixed and later that night his bakery was bombed. Certainly no coincidence according to his account of things.
It isn’t known how Al-Hawasi feels about the charges against Marinakis, but criminal activity and corruption claims around people at the top of European soccer are hardly without precedent.