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Greece vs. Australia (ban on Cypriot fans)

Football, Basketball, F1 etc.

Postby wogboy » Sat Jun 03, 2006 3:21 pm

Yes it did make the headlines, but not for trafic congestion. The media helicopter few overhead filming, journalists walked through taking interviews and our papers published the story the very next day. I was told while walking that a Greek telivision station (covering the actual game) cancelled its broadcast in Athens to air segments of our demonstration LIVE. I have a friend living in Las Vegas who told me she heard about it too. While we walked Australian fans also joined in, so this swelled our numbers. The trail of people was at least 300meters, old and young, men and women.
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Postby Kikapu » Sat Jun 03, 2006 3:34 pm

wogboy wrote:Yes it did make the headlines, but not for trafic congestion. The media helicopter few overhead filming, journalists walked through taking interviews and our papers published the story the very next day. I was told while walking that a Greek telivision station (covering the actual game) cancelled its broadcast in Athens to air segments of our demonstration LIVE. I have a friend living in Las Vegas who told me she heard about it too. While we walked Australian fans also joined in, so this swelled our numbers. The trail of people was at least 300meters, old and young, men and women.


Wogboy,

You've yet to answer the question, as to what the purpose of the march was, that took place before the game. Most people just show up to watch a game at the stadium, and not march downtown. Was it a political march, and if so, for what reason.
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Postby wogboy » Sun Jun 04, 2006 5:20 am

Im sorry, I wrote about it with the opening of this thread. In the begining it was all about challenging a ban on flags and banners. However, as we discovered through our investigations, the issue was more complicated. That is why people congregated and marched to the stadium (and not merely arrive at the venue as they normally would).

Entertainment and Sports usually go hand in hand with controversy. It’s very unfortunate, and it really shouldn’t be that way at all. The fact remains that politics, lobbying, and certain groups wanting to have it all their own way at the expense of others, are almost unavoidable in this case. If you are lucky enough, and not too investigative and resourceful, this simple fact remains hidden.

What we discovered:

#Tickets for the game were sold dishonestly:

Football Federation of Australia: Wants to promote the sport to the popular majority. The problem is that the 'popular majority' in general doesnt like sitting in the company of noisy, passionate ethnic supporters. That is why the ethnic football clubs in this country were axed from the new national league. As you can expect, the game Greece vs Australia was set to attract many Greek fans. Australia would then fly to the World Cup. After the World Cup the new A-League season would start. So the FFA had an excellent chance to market the football in this country. It's major problem was to try and keep Greek fans 'civilised'. Remember, the game Greece vs Australia was a 95,000 people sell out. The way to do this was to ban banners, flags and all those things that would normally be considered part of the game in any country.

The ban was enforced in secret, prior to ticket sales through contracts between the FFA and Victorian State Government. The government did this when it won the bidding rights to host this game and several friendlies over the next 4 years. It's motivation was simply revenue (tourist dollars, so it didnt care about the fans at all).

The bidding process was between Melbourne and Sydney in February. During this time Marcos Baghdatis was making headlines accross Australia, uniting all sports fans this country. Melbourne won the bidding war on the back of it's huge Greek/Cypriot population. "where else would you rather have a game Greece vs Australia than in Melbourne"...."look at how great our Greek community is"..."we have the best fans in Australia".

Essentially what they did was promote Greek patriotism on the one hand (to win the rights), whilst on the other, aggree to the ban on those fans it had promoted so well. Ironic? Nope, its all about the money.

Tickets were sold through the ticket website which made no mention of bans on Cypriot flag, nor any bans on anything else culturally Greek. Fans didnt know before they bough their ticket. If they had know, there would have been a backlash (as there was afterwards). When you buy a ticket, you are actually signing a contract. The ban was not a part of that contract as it didnt appear on the "prohibited items list".

When people discovered all these dodgy dealings they complained. It was done for 3 reasons:

1. Becase many people thought it was unfair. Human Rights people said it constituted 2 breaches of Human Rights Law.
2. So people who did not know could be made aware (and not be made fools when they turned up to the gate with their Cypriot flag). Contract Law had been breached.
3. Becasue they were annoyed at the way Greek fans were used to cash in on the game. You would assume some breach of Business ethics had been breached also.

#The media in this country was dishonest and corrupt.

When people started making noise, the FFA had no alternative than to launch its own media campaign. And it did so in the worst possible way-by inciting ethno-nationalism.

It went on (the most popular) radio stations saying that Greek fans only cared about politicising the Cyprus issue and stabbing the Turks...that we wanted to go to war with the R. Macedonia....trust me, it was all laughable and many Greeks and Cypriots were insulted.

By doing this the FFA hoped to gain the support of the "majority", to hide and protect its own interests (making money). Unfortunately for the FFA, whenever they went to the radio Greeks and Cypriots would get on the telephones talking about discrimination. People also started asking about these dodgy business dealings, and hench, this is how the community "got together". What the FFA did was use other ethnic groups to try and get its own way (it used us).

A TV documentary was arranged by the FFA called "Violence in Football". We lobbied all members of Victorian Government, knowing that the Greek Community was large enough to have the program axed. If the Victorian Government didnt listen, then there could have been political consequences (this is why bulk emails were sent to the opposition parties). Amazingly, the story did air...but changed to "Violence in Sport" making no reference to football at all.

Our local Greek newspaper "Neos Kosmos" went as far as preparing an editorial devoted to this issue. The week that it was meant to run the story the FFA stepped in with money. Essentially, it bought our paper, promising exclusive interviews with the players and future media rights to football games. Basically, the Greek newspaper SOLD its SOUL. This is why there was a backlash against the newspaper.

#With money, you can do anything, even if its unfair.

When the players arrived in Australia about 500 people greeted them at the airport. People had all types of flags and banners. What the FFA had instructed was that the Greek National team board the bus immediately, and take no notice of fans. Thats exactly what happened.

#There is no substitute for action.

At the Antipodes festival (biggest Greek Festival in Australia), 50 000 Greeks and Cypriots gathered to see the national team. The word was all about the ban, so people going to the game knew.

On the day of the game many Greeks and Cypriots congregated in the city. The police arrived becasue there were to many people to walk to the stadium safely (it was very busy). Nearly everbody who walked knew about the ban, which is why you saw so many banners etc.

#Reflections

It was unfortunate that this did take a political tone. However, Greek fans were not the ones running to radio and newspapers talking about ethno-nationalism. This was orchestrated by others.

I think watching all those people come together was a good thing for our community. To many times have Greeks been passive about things important to both Greeks and Cypriots. If we always listen to our 'good' politicians, you can almost guarantee that nothing will be done. Everybody has their own agenda. In this case, the most important people (the fans), were used in the worst possible way (to make money from greed).

Since this time we have been busy creating a data base of people who wish to become more aware of simple issues in the Greek/Cypriot community. Some things are more important than others, but this example shows that every individual can make a difference (if they work together).

That is why I wrote thanking those people from this forum. Belive it or not, I had Cypriots write from as far as Italy, Germany the USA and Canada. These were all people I would not have otherwise known.

I hope this answers your question.
Last edited by wogboy on Sun Jun 04, 2006 5:29 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby wogboy » Sun Jun 04, 2006 5:22 am

I apologise for the length
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Postby stuballstu » Mon Jun 05, 2006 12:11 pm

Wigboy

Excuse my ignorance. You have suggested corruption of quite a magnitude going on and that money was the root of the problem. Would it not have been better to either have a mass walk out during part of the game or indeed not to go to the game at all?
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Postby Viewpoint » Mon Jun 05, 2006 12:57 pm

Some of your own medicine, lets see how it feels, well done Australia.
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Postby Alexander » Mon Jun 05, 2006 1:27 pm

Viewpoint wrote:Some of your own medicine, lets see how it feels, well done Australia.



Well that’s the difference between a civilized democracy and Turkey. Transpose said marches to Turkey, and what you end up with is police with tear gas, tortures in jail, burnings of villages, beheadings of demonstrates, and who knows a little visit to a cave with the old Attila dousing you with petrol and setting you alight.
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Postby wogboy » Mon Jun 05, 2006 2:27 pm

I think it would have been really hard to walk out of the game. Our passion was the reason we felt the way did at the time, although I respect your comment.

Yes, it was definately about money, although we did not realise this untill much after. Even today I can support every word I have made so far.

I think all fans at the stadium were happy to support both teams, so in that sense the game was very much a friendly.

When you try and organise an event, you have to do the best you can to take care of those people who you are catoring for. Its not an easy job, and I understand that. However, in this case a large group of people (and it clearly was targeted against ethnic australians) wanted representation. All we discovered was this long trail of political dealings and people trying very hard to hide their financial agendas.

I have noticed in other areas of this forum, people talking about sending emails for various issues they believe in. What I can say from this experience, is that each individual can make a difference. In my example, I met people I otherwise would not have known and we did things together. In that sense, it was good to see a strengthening of the community. I think we can all agree that this value is something we should all try harder to preserve.
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Postby Kikapu » Tue Jun 06, 2006 8:38 pm

wogboy wrote:Im sorry, I wrote about it with the opening of this thread. In the begining it was all about challenging a ban on flags and banners. However, as we discovered through our investigations, the issue was more complicated. That is why people congregated and marched to the stadium (and not merely arrive at the venue as they normally would).

Entertainment and Sports usually go hand in hand with controversy. It’s very unfortunate, and it really shouldn’t be that way at all. The fact remains that politics, lobbying, and certain groups wanting to have it all their own way at the expense of others, are almost unavoidable in this case. If you are lucky enough, and not too investigative and resourceful, this simple fact remains hidden.

What we discovered:

#Tickets for the game were sold dishonestly:

Football Federation of Australia: Wants to promote the sport to the popular majority. The problem is that the 'popular majority' in general doesnt like sitting in the company of noisy, passionate ethnic supporters. That is why the ethnic football clubs in this country were axed from the new national league. As you can expect, the game Greece vs Australia was set to attract many Greek fans. Australia would then fly to the World Cup. After the World Cup the new A-League season would start. So the FFA had an excellent chance to market the football in this country. It's major problem was to try and keep Greek fans 'civilised'. Remember, the game Greece vs Australia was a 95,000 people sell out. The way to do this was to ban banners, flags and all those things that would normally be considered part of the game in any country.

The ban was enforced in secret, prior to ticket sales through contracts between the FFA and Victorian State Government. The government did this when it won the bidding rights to host this game and several friendlies over the next 4 years. It's motivation was simply revenue (tourist dollars, so it didnt care about the fans at all).

The bidding process was between Melbourne and Sydney in February. During this time Marcos Baghdatis was making headlines accross Australia, uniting all sports fans this country. Melbourne won the bidding war on the back of it's huge Greek/Cypriot population. "where else would you rather have a game Greece vs Australia than in Melbourne"...."look at how great our Greek community is"..."we have the best fans in Australia".

Essentially what they did was promote Greek patriotism on the one hand (to win the rights), whilst on the other, aggree to the ban on those fans it had promoted so well. Ironic? Nope, its all about the money.

Tickets were sold through the ticket website which made no mention of bans on Cypriot flag, nor any bans on anything else culturally Greek. Fans didnt know before they bough their ticket. If they had know, there would have been a backlash (as there was afterwards). When you buy a ticket, you are actually signing a contract. The ban was not a part of that contract as it didnt appear on the "prohibited items list".

When people discovered all these dodgy dealings they complained. It was done for 3 reasons:

1. Becase many people thought it was unfair. Human Rights people said it constituted 2 breaches of Human Rights Law.
2. So people who did not know could be made aware (and not be made fools when they turned up to the gate with their Cypriot flag). Contract Law had been breached.
3. Becasue they were annoyed at the way Greek fans were used to cash in on the game. You would assume some breach of Business ethics had been breached also.

#The media in this country was dishonest and corrupt.

When people started making noise, the FFA had no alternative than to launch its own media campaign. And it did so in the worst possible way-by inciting ethno-nationalism.

It went on (the most popular) radio stations saying that Greek fans only cared about politicising the Cyprus issue and stabbing the Turks...that we wanted to go to war with the R. Macedonia....trust me, it was all laughable and many Greeks and Cypriots were insulted.

By doing this the FFA hoped to gain the support of the "majority", to hide and protect its own interests (making money). Unfortunately for the FFA, whenever they went to the radio Greeks and Cypriots would get on the telephones talking about discrimination. People also started asking about these dodgy business dealings, and hench, this is how the community "got together". What the FFA did was use other ethnic groups to try and get its own way (it used us).

A TV documentary was arranged by the FFA called "Violence in Football". We lobbied all members of Victorian Government, knowing that the Greek Community was large enough to have the program axed. If the Victorian Government didnt listen, then there could have been political consequences (this is why bulk emails were sent to the opposition parties). Amazingly, the story did air...but changed to "Violence in Sport" making no reference to football at all.

Our local Greek newspaper "Neos Kosmos" went as far as preparing an editorial devoted to this issue. The week that it was meant to run the story the FFA stepped in with money. Essentially, it bought our paper, promising exclusive interviews with the players and future media rights to football games. Basically, the Greek newspaper SOLD its SOUL. This is why there was a backlash against the newspaper.

#With money, you can do anything, even if its unfair.

When the players arrived in Australia about 500 people greeted them at the airport. People had all types of flags and banners. What the FFA had instructed was that the Greek National team board the bus immediately, and take no notice of fans. Thats exactly what happened.

#There is no substitute for action.

At the Antipodes festival (biggest Greek Festival in Australia), 50 000 Greeks and Cypriots gathered to see the national team. The word was all about the ban, so people going to the game knew.

On the day of the game many Greeks and Cypriots congregated in the city. The police arrived becasue there were to many people to walk to the stadium safely (it was very busy). Nearly everbody who walked knew about the ban, which is why you saw so many banners etc.

#Reflections

It was unfortunate that this did take a political tone. However, Greek fans were not the ones running to radio and newspapers talking about ethno-nationalism. This was orchestrated by others.

I think watching all those people come together was a good thing for our community. To many times have Greeks been passive about things important to both Greeks and Cypriots. If we always listen to our 'good' politicians, you can almost guarantee that nothing will be done. Everybody has their own agenda. In this case, the most important people (the fans), were used in the worst possible way (to make money from greed).

Since this time we have been busy creating a data base of people who wish to become more aware of simple issues in the Greek/Cypriot community. Some things are more important than others, but this example shows that every individual can make a difference (if they work together).

That is why I wrote thanking those people from this forum. Belive it or not, I had Cypriots write from as far as Italy, Germany the USA and Canada. These were all people I would not have otherwise known.

I hope this answers your question.


Thanks wogboy. It's more information than I expected...Be careful what you ask for, you might just get it !!!
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Postby wogboy » Wed Jun 07, 2006 4:45 am

anytime my friend
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