There is expectation on every team at the UEFA European Championships this year, but most fans understand that only one team can win, and are resigned to the fact that their team may not make it to the final.
One team however has more reason than most to perform well at this month’s championships in Poland and the Ukraine, for if they don’t there could be a bigger backlash than ever before, and that team is Greece. With the country in the midst of a financial crisis, many are looking at the money being thrown at their national team.
The financial state of the national team is extremely topical, as not only is the country reeling financially but the game domestically. Eight teams in Greece, including giants Panathanikos and AEK Athens, face the possibility of a ban on transfers unless they pay wages owed to players.
No expense has been spared for the national squad as they jetted out to their training camp last week in Austria. It must be pointed out that much of the costs are covered by a sponsor rather than the Hellenic Football Federation!
Portugese coach Fernando Santos received a 45% pay rise who replaced European Champion winning coach Otto Rehhagel after the 2010 World Cup. He is believed to be earning EUR600,000 a year. Having received EUR8million for qualifying the Hellenic Football Federation feel that this is money well spent.
However there are rumblings at board level that this is not prudent in the country’s present parlous financial state. Should Greece not perform and get bundled out at the group stage many are expecting a massive backlash.