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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Apr 21, 2008

Road clear for Olympiakos to be named champions

ATHENS, April 21 (Reuters) - Olympiakos Piraeus were officially crowned Greek champions on Monday when the Super League ratified the final table after a legal block was cleared.

The league's move followed a decision by the Lausanne-based Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) to reject an appeal by Apollon Kalamaria.

Apollon had appealed against a Greek Football Federation (EPO) decision to overturn their 1-0 win over Olympiakos on Feb 3. because Kalamaria had fielded an ineligible player.

Olympiakos were awarded three points for the match by the EPO as Apollon's Roman Wallner, signed in January, had already played this season for Scottish clubs Falkirk and Hamilton.

Bottom club Apollon were docked a point and went on to be relegated.

'With its decision CAS unanimously ruled to reject the provisional measures filed by Apollon Kalamaria against the Greek FA's appeals commission over Olympiakos,' said a statement on the EPO's website.

AEK Athens, who beat Olympiakos 4-0 last month, finished in second place, two points behind.

Brazilian forward Rivaldo, who plays for AEK, threatened on Sunday to leave Greece if the ruling went in favour of his former club Olympiakos.

'On the basis of the undisputed facts of the matter, the CAS panel found the conditions to grant provisional measures to Apollon Kalamaria and, accordingly, to order the standings of the Super League not be validated, were not fulfilled,' said CAS on its website.

But CAS said Apollon could still pursue the case and a hearing was expected to take place between May 5-10.

Rivaldo, who helped his country win the 2002 World Cup, said he would return to Brazil if AEK were not declared champions.

'If we are not vindicated I will ask the club president (Demis Nikolaidis) to release me from my contract so I can leave Greece,' Rivaldo told reporters after his team beat Asteras Tripolis 2-0.

'I will probably go back to Brazil to finish my career.'

The 36-year-old, who won three titles with Olympiakos before joining AEK last year, scored the first goal in Sunday's win and later took a swipe at his former club.

'A team that was not good enough to win the title on the pitch does not deserve the trophy,' said Rivaldo. 'Football is a beautiful sport and should be played on the pitch.'

AEK now compete in a round-robin tournament with Panathinaikos, Aris Salonika and Panionios, who were third, fourth and fifth, to decide who takes the second Champions League spot and the UEFA Cup places.

The playoffs start on Wednesday with AEK hosting Panionios and Aris entertaining Panathinaikos.

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