Written by Everything Rugby League
Former Hellenic Rugby League President Tasos Pantazidis has been handed a 16-month ban from being involved with any sport.
According to a media release from the Greek Federation of Modern Pentathlon which also encompasses Triathlon and Rugby League, Greece’s highest sporting ethics watchdog, the National Olympic Academy Ethics Commission, have banned Pantazidis and colleague Andreas Kolettis from any form of involvement in any sport in Greece for the next 16 months. This is binding across all sports as the ethics committee is a branch of the Hellenic Olympic Committee, Greece’s highest sporting authority.
According to the release, which was translated into English by an accredited organisation, the pair were found to have “culpably violated the principles of sporting traditions and Olympic ideal.”
It is not known how this will affect the role Pantazidis created as head of an organisation called World Rugby League. The organisation has no connection with official rugby league federations. According to the World Rugby League Facebook page, they appointed ‘regional directors’ in Chile and Argentina recently.
There has been a well-documented black cloud hanging over the sport in Greece since 2015 after a split divided the rugby league community.
The Hellenic Rugby League, headed by Pantazidis, was suspended in 2016 by the international federation for ‘willfully acting in a manner prejudicial to the interests of the RLEF and international rugby league’
The IRL endorsed Greece Rugby League Association (GRLA) has subsequently endured threats, intimidation and cancellations in their efforts to train and play the sport they love. Greece was forced to move their home World Cup qualifying match against Scotland to London due to lack of government recognition and the chance of disruption.
A change of government (Pantazidis was aligned to the Syriza party who previously held power) saw some relief for the GRLA. Officials are currently working towards government recognition for rugby league in Greece.