The Match for Peace was called by Olympiacos. On April 9 last year, a little more than a month after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the Greek club staged a friendly with Shakhtar Donetsk. This was Shakhtar’s first match since fleeing a civil war in its homeland.

Before the game, each of Shakhtar’s players emerged with Ukraine’s flag — cornfield yellow, summer blue — draped over their shoulders. Both teams’ jerseys were adorned with the slogan: “Stop War.” All proceeds from ticket sales for the game, held at Olympiacos’s Karaiskakis stadium in Piraeus, would be used to help support refugees from the fighting. “We use football as a tool for peace,” said Christian Karembeu, the Greek club’s sporting director at the time.

Alkinoos was a crude-oil tanker that arrived from Primorsk in Russia four days prior to Rotterdam. Center for Research on Energy and Clean Air Analysed by Investigate Europe Reporters UnitedA project of investigative journalism from Greece.

Quite how much Russian oil the vessel was carrying is not known, only that the ship’s capacity is 109,900 deadweight tons, and that it is operated by Capital Ship Management. Aristidis was also a chemical and oil tanker which arrived in Teesport (northern England) a few days after the Aristidis. This ship was also from Primorsk.

Capital Ship Management is managed by Evangelos Marinakis, a Greek businessman. Marinakis, despite diversifying his investments into media and retail over the years, can still trace his wealth back to shipping. This is how he earned his fortune. However, his greatest fame came from soccer. Marinakis is the man who turned Olympiacos into Greece’s serial champion.

Marinakis — also, much more recently, the owner of Nottingham Forest, now restored to the Premier League — has not broken any laws, or defied any sanctions, by facilitating the flow of Russian oil around the world. The only transgression here, given Olympiacos’s support for Shakhtar, was that his private and public stances did not match.

That is not a rare feat. Giannis alafouzos is like Marinakis and has many interests. He owns the SKAI television network, as well as Katherimini, Greece’s leading newspaper. Both were fiercely critical about the Russian invasion in Ukraine. Alafouzos maintained a similar view in (relatively few), public statements about the topic.

Kyklades Maritime with its fleet of 22 tanksers, which has been transporting Russian oil since wartime, is at the heart of his fortune. Investigate Europe found that Kyklades ships have been accounted for. “carried out 26 shipments of crude oil or oil from Russia internationally” Between the beginning of the invasion to Jan. 5, this year.

Alafouzos, it should be pointed out, also owns Panathinaikos, traditionally Olympiacos’s fiercest rival and its closest domestic competitor. Marinakis’s success has made it difficult for him to catch up in recent years. With its participation in the Champions League, Olympiacos has won every title except four of its Greek league titles. Panathinaikos is the only Greek champion that has not been won since 2010.

It seems that it has been rebuilt this year. Under the astute coaching of Ivan Jovanovic, it sits 4 points clear of its nearest rival — AEK Athens — with only three games left in the regular season.

However, this weekend presents its most difficult challenge. Olympiacos sits in third place, five points behind, with an even more impressive and distinguished team. It can call on the likes of James Rodríguez on Saturday when the clubs meet in Piraeus, at the Karaiskakis. It will not be described as a game for peace by anyone.

It’s difficult to imagine the magnitude of Panathinaikos-Olympics meetings. The best thing is to remember that this game is well-known in Greece. Derby It is often called the Eternal Enemies. This has been Europe’s most heated rivalry for a long time.

Marinakis and Alafouzos managed to do what was impossible. Greek soccer has for decades been dominated not by its players and managers but by its owners: proud, bombastic, fabulously wealthy strongmen drawn from the country’s oligarch class, drawn to the sports less for the competition or the glory and more for the power it can bestow.

Dimitris Melinidis is another shipping and oil tycoon who owns AEK. PAOK in Thessaloniki is owned by Dimitris Melissanidis.-Greek tobacco tycoon. These clubs give them visibility, provide them with constituency, and allow them to market themselves and their empires.

As owners of the country’s two most prominent and popular clubs, though, Marinakis and Alafouzos occupy the grandest stage. The At times the friction between them appeared to extend beyond commercialism and professionality and become deeply personal.

Marinakis was previously sued by Alafouzos in connection to a match.-fixing scandal — and attendant wave of violence — in which Marinakis was accused of involvement. Marinakis was eventually acquitted and denies all allegations.

In return, Alafouzos’s news media outlets have more than once been accused of breaking Greece’s privacy laws in relation to Marinakis. In 2015, a meeting of the country’s Super League teams had to be suspended after a “violent” altercation between the two men, which ended with one of Alafouzos’s bodyguards nursing a split lip.

Quite how much any of this has to do with soccer is anyone’s guess. Panathinaikos, Olympiacos and all of Greek soccer are likely to be caught up in the crossfires of something much larger than just a sport. Instead, they are pieces of a larger game where there is no room for morality, where success can be achieved by any means, and where billionaire rivalries play out on and off the field. The real prize, however, is pure and uncontested power, not a trophy.


Pablo Longoria was known by a nickname for a time. Like the most successful nicknames, it stuck because it was popular. Longoria, although young, looked older than his age. And his route into professional soccer’s executive ranks from Asturias, in northern Spain, had been unorthodox. As a teenager, he had spent hours on computer games to sharpen his scouting skills. So they called him what he was: Niño De La Play — The PlayStation Kid.

In the past, soccer could have used that against him. Now, though, there is no longer a tightly defined, strictly controlled entry policy to the game’s backstage areas. No matter how much experience you have, anyone can get in, no matter what. It takes only persistence and determination to win.-Believe and have chutzpah.

Longoria’s story suggests he has all of those in abundance. Longoria’s own story reveals that he created a website for players analysis when he was 12 years old. This is unusual, but also the most impressive.-Jahr-The old things in life are the best. When he was 16, he began writing to Europe clubs asking for his help. Newcastle United was one of the three clubs that responded to his request. They provided him with the correct form for compiling scouting reports.

He didn’t stop there. He got a job as an analyst for Recreativo de Huelva, a venerable, cash-strapped team in Spain’s deep south. It is unclear how much time and what purpose he worked at Newcastle. It was enough to build enough network for him to serve as a scout in Atalanta, an Italian team.

By the time Longoria was 34, his résumé was positively glittering. He was the head of Sassuolo’s recruitment. After serving as chief scout of Juventus, and then sporting director at Valencia, before taking up the role at Marseille. A little more than two years later, he earned a promotion: In 2021, he was appointed president of what is — historically — France’s biggest club.

Longoria had no qualifications beyond his work experience. One or two poor choices and Longoria could have been fired.-His failure to have a successful playing career was a source of myth. The Although soccer is open to all, it’s not possible to get out.

Longoria’s only rise is a testament to his ability to do his job well. Excellent. He recruited a mixture of Ligue 1 stalwarts and aging castoffs from Marseille and put them in the services of Igor Tudor. Tudor was so unimpressed by the appointment that he received jeering remarks from his fans.

It has been a success, and it is still working. Marseille ranks second in Ligue 1 after the stuttering travelling circus of Paris St.-Germain. P.S.G. travels to the Stade Velodrome this weekend for France’s great gala derby. Should Marseille win — as it did against P.S.G. in the French Cup a few weeks ago — it would close the gap to only 2 points. Nobody uses Longoria’s nickname any more. His origins are no longer relevant. He is far more interesting where he’s going.

Union Berlin had been supposed to be gone by now. Ragtag stories are known for having a very short shelf-life. As the Superpowers are still building up, it is not common for unlikely teams to reach the top of the league in the initial weeks of the season. Their spirit, tenacity, and derring are often praised.-Do they? Then, they disappear with grace and fond memories of their time in public.

Union has, however, not received the particular script. The Bundesliga is roughly two thirds of the way through its season, and Union — the ultimate underdog, really — is still there, battling with Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich, Union’s opponent this weekend, at the top of the table.

The likelihood remains, of course, that in the white heat of the final stretch, Bayern (or possibly Dortmund, which moved on top — temporarily — with a victory Saturday) will have the players, the legs and the resources to leave the others behind, but the longer it goes on, the more of a boon it is for the league as a whole.

The Bundesliga has always insisted that Bayern’s dominance is a good thing, not a bad one, no matter how counterintuitive that sounds and how wrong it very clearly is. But the mere possibility of Union’s staying the course has energized the competition.

It is not possible to have romance in any major league. In the purest sense of competition, it is an illusion. In every part of Europe, there is an unmoving hierarchy called a “hegemony”. It is vital to maintain this illusion. Long-term, the fact that Union can withstand gravity does not really matter. But it does matter that for quite some period it appeared as though it might.

The newsletter attempts to find a compromise between pragmaticity and philosophy. Joe Light’s Question belongs largely to the first group. “I’ve become fan of Wrexham since watching ‘Welcome To Wrexham,’” Ryan Reynolds and I were close friends. He was clearly not aware of the fact that he had written to me. museum in York.

“I’m intrigued by the long throw-ins by Ben Tozer, which have the effect of a corner and often lead to scoring chances. Why don’t more clubs utilize this strategy?”

The Joe’s answer is “Common decency.” It’s a perception. Long throws were a familiar approach in the heyday of what I think we can all agree was the true beautiful game — burly Englishmen booting balls as far as possible on mud-stained fields, their turf not so much mowed as plowed — in the 1980s and 1990s.

The idea was then a bit stigmatized. The data has helped to give it some life.-Teams like Brentford and Midtjylland in Denmark have a marginal-gains philosophy that is inflected by Real Madrid. Ben Tozer could be the future’s harbinger.

Richard Lesser’s The question can be similarly pragmatic. “Why are Champions League knockout games scheduled at the same time?” He asks. “It makes no sense from a television fan’s perspective. Even if you record one game and watch the other, you still have to cloister yourself from hearing the other result.”

There will, I suspect, be practical reasons for this — kicking off one game earlier or later would impact match-going fans, after all — but I would agree it seems a little outdated. The games should be able to be slowed by at most an hour.

Ken BariahtarisOn the other side, he is considering more serious matters. “The beauty of soccer at this level is the narrow margins. Goals, fundamentally, are hard to come by. Skill, technique, money to build a side all matter, but tactics, effort, a magical moment or two can overcome disadvantages. Over a season, the aggregate talent rises. But we all love the possibility of a single game or tie making the difference.” Scarcity, in other words, is soccer’s secret ingredient.

Here’s a tip: Walid Neaz That already was added, long before you have read this, as a potential subject to my future list. “We’re witnessing some of the best ever players for their respective nations in terms of appearances and goals: Neymar breaking Pelé’s record, Messi and Ronaldo setting all time-greatest marks, the likes of Luis Suárez for Uruguay, Robert Lewandowski for Poland, Romelu Lukaku for Belgium, Olivier Giroud for France. Is this truly the generation where we’re seeing players reach the highest heights, or is it helped by playing more games and competitions than ever before?”

My kneejerk, hot-Reaction is that this is certain to be a major factor. Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo scored many goals. No one can deny that. His achievement is not being devalued by anyone. But it does seem like most of them came against Luxembourg, doesn’t it?