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www.chinaview.cn 2006-02-22 09:08:08

    ATHENS, Feb. 21 (Xinhuanet) -- Greek Deputy Cultural Minister Georgos Orfanos pledged on Tuesday that he will soon press parliament to approve legislation aimed at creating a 16-team Super League starting next season.

    The minister who is in charge of sports affairs made the announcement after meeting with representatives of top Greek clubs.

    "The closing of the gap between big and small teams, the support of second division clubs and the facing of violence in the sport are to be dealt within the framework of the new league," he told reporters.

    "I am convinced that the leaders of the major teams are working for a better future for Greek soccer," he added.

    Eleven of the 16 teams currently in the Greek first division have already approved the creation of the new league.

    Supporters of the league vowed that they will proceed with its founding even if the other five teams, including the powerful PAOK club from Thessaloniki, do not agree on joining it.

    "I am certain that the Super League will begin next season, even without the other clubs that do not show interest. Those teams will have to explain to their supporters why they do not want to join," Xanthi FC owner and the originator of the proposed league, Christos Panopoulos, told a press conference.

    The organizing committee of the planned league are expected to meet Thursday with the five teams not participating so far in order to get their backing.

    The league has won the endorsement from the three major clubs Olympiakos Piraeus, AEK Athens and Panathinaikos Athens.

    "Today is a significant day for Greek soccer and now what remains is creating the legal status of the league," said Petros Kokkalis, vice president of current league leaders Olympiakos. Enditem

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