Giannakopoulos threatens to pull Panathinaikos from EuroLeague
Panathinaikos owner Dimitris Giannakopoulos has threatened to pull his club from the EuroLeague after he received a 12-month ban from EuroLeague venues…
Just days after receiving a 12-month ban from EuroLeague venues, Panathinaikos owner Dimitris Giannakopoulos has appealed the suspension and has warned if the suspension is upheld that he will look to pull Panathinaikos from the competition.
Giannakopoulos received the ban for inflammatory remarks he made about fans of Fenerbahce on his Instagram account – comments Giannakopoulos has since deleted.
The result of the appeal is expected later this week, at which point Giannakopoulos has stated that should the appeal be upheld he will pose a referendum in which fans will be able to determine if Panathinaikos should continue in the EuroLeague, or not.
Giannakopoulos stated the results of the referendum would determine not only Panathinaikos’ participation in the EuroLeague, but should the result of the referendum end in favour of Panathinaikos’ continuation in the EuroLeague then Giannakopoulos has stated he will leave the club.
Fans appeared to be in support of Giannakopoulos during Panathinaikos’ Thursday night tilt against Baskonia Vitoria Gasteiz, though the fiery owner was not allowed at OAKA as the EuroLeague reviews the appeal.
Fans wearing masks with Giannakopoulos face on them, as well as holding signs and singing chants in favour of Giannakopoulos proved just how much the club’s supporters adore Giannakopoulos.
It remains unclear what a referendum would result in, though if Thursday’s displays at OAKA were any indication then it is a real possibility that Panathinaikos won’t be involved in the EuroLeague come next season.
Of course the EuroLeague wouldn’t want one of the most successful sides in the tournament’s history to leave the competition, as was made clear when the club signed a long-term contract to remain in the EuroLeague side at the start of last season.
Should Panathinaikos ultimately decide to leave the competition, however, a condition in the contract between the club and the organizers of the competition is that a fee of 10 million euros would suffice as a buyout.
Panathinaikos’ departure from the EuroLeague could trigger a mass exodus as pressure mounts on EuroLeague clubs to release their players during international breaks, which are more in-line with the FIBA Champions League.