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The Greek professional footballers’ association PSAP is finally closing in on what it was promised almost three years ago: a guarantee fund to compensate players if their teams are demoted from professional leagues for financial reasons.

Last year, the PSAP and their players threatened to go on strike from 15 to 17 December when there were cup matches scheduled. It was a measure of last resort as PSAP and the players had been waiting in vain on the implementation of the guarantee fund.

The threat of the strike action worked, admits PSAP treasurer Stamatis Syrigos. “We managed to solve the issue with the Football Association and the League before the strike could even take place. Currently we only need to work out the last few details before the guarantee fund will be fully operational.”

“The implementation of the guarantee fund will be a paramount achievement for us considering the struggle we went through. Three, four years ago we started taking to the League and the FA about a guarantee fund. They did not want to hear about it. And now we are just one small step removed from its implementation.”

The guarantee fund is highly necessary. Only last week, second-tier side Ergotelis announced that it was going into administration. The former premier division mainstay from Heraklion is the first club to go into administration this year. Last season, four teams suffered from financial insolvency and were relegated: Niki Volos, OFI, Paniliakos and Pierikos.

The PSAP was surprised that Ergotelis was even allowed to start the current championship season, as their financial struggles were obvious. During the season problems worsened. Around Christmas, the PSAP made solidarity payments to 22 Ergotelis players, who had not been paid for an extended period.

Syrigos adds: “We also paid their travel arrangements, because the players did not have the money to return to their homes on the mainland and were stuck on the island of Crete.”

Ergotelis’ players will be among the ones benefiting from the guarantee fund when it is finally implemented. They can receive their full arrears up to 30,000 euro and can collect a 20 percent payment of the arrears between 30,000 and 100,000 euro.

All players that financially suffered from relegation due to financial reasons starting from the 2012-2013 season, can are entitled to a compensation from the Guarantee Fund.

In the meantime, the PSAP is trying to get the players released from Ergotelis as quickly as possible.

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