Greek spectacle puts focus on anti-racism19 May 2009

The Greek Cup final on 2 May not only produced one of the most spellbinding matches in the competition's history but also provided a forum for the anti-racist message – telling supporters from every angle of Athens's Olympic Stadium to 'Unite Against Racism'.

High visibility
With a record television audience of 4 million (a 68 per cent market share) on top of the 55,000 crowd, the Hellenic Football Federation (EPO) left no stone unturned in ensuring maximum exposure for the Unite Against Racism initiative. The Unite Against Racism logo brings visibility to the anti-racism campaign being driven by UEFA in co-operation with its partner, the pan-European Football Against Racism in Europe (FARE) network.

Stadium advertising hoardings as well as the electronic scoreboard flashed the message, which was also borne by player escort mascots on their T-shirts and stamped on to the match programme and tickets for the Olympiacos CFP v AEK Athens FC showpiece. EPO official Pafsanias Papanikolaou said: “I am happy to have participated towards the success of the anti-racism project and persuaded that we have done our best.”

The final itself was no less impressive, as Greek league champions Olympiacos played out a 4-4 draw after extra time with local rivals AEK Athens. Remarkably, a game that had featured an equalising goal six minutes into added time, two sendings-off and a two-goal fightback, was even bettered for excitement by the ensuing penalty shoot-out. Olympiacos won it 15-14, with the decisive conversion coming from their goalkeeper Antonis Nikopolidis.