Giannakopoulos storms out of last-minute meeting aimed at saving Eternal Derby
Tempers flared during a late night meeting aimed at saving Sunday’s Eternal Derby with Panathinaikos owner, Dimitris Giannakopoulos, storming out of talks involving representatives from Olympiacos, the Basket League, and the Hellenic Basketball Federation…
A last-ditch effort to save Sunday’s Eternal Derby in the Greek Basket League ended with tempers flaring at the offices of Greek Deputy Minister of Sports, Giorgos Vasiliadis.
Hoping to mediate discussions between Olympiacos, Panathinaikos, the Basket League, and the Hellenic Basketball Federation, Vasiliadis invited parties from all sides to his offices late Friday evening.
With Olympiacos expected to forfeit Sunday’s contest, Vasiliadis was hoping to help steer all sides to a resolution in order to save Sunday’s clash at the Peace and Friendship Stadium.
Despite best efforts from Vasiliadis, discussions ended abruptly when Panathinaikos owner, Dimitris Giannakopoulos, stormed out of the meeting after Giannakopoulos and Olympiacos vice president, Giorgos Skindilias.
According to Olympiacos’ account of the proceedings, Giannakopoulos cursed and spat at Skindilias, who had to be restrained from Giannakopoulos after he became enraged by the insults.
Giorgos Aggelopoulos, who tried to restrain Skindilias, reportedly told Giannakopoulos to “cut the theatrics and sit down.” However, Giannakopoulos refused and accused Olympiacos’ ownership of pushing him and threatening him as he exited the building.
Having stormed out of the meeting accompanied by his lawyer, Giannakopoulos took to his Instagram account where he aired his grievances against the likes of Vasiliadis while also challenging Olympiacos’ co-owner, Giorgos Aggelopoulos, to a fight outside.
“Giorgos Vasiliadis is a well-known Olympiacos fan. Mr. Skindilias threatened to beat me. I have had a surgical operation recently. I am outside the building. I invite Giorgos Aggelopoulos to come down and push me now. I don’t understand why there was a meeting at this moment. There are laws and rules and they must be applied,” Giannakopoulos told radio station Sport FM.
The failed meeting adds to an ongoing saga between the two sides, which stems from last month’s Greek Cup semifinal between the two Eternal Rivals – one that ended at halftime after Olympiacos forfeited the contest in protest to the officiating. Olympiacos’ campaign since, which has called for foreign referees to officiate all derby clashes against Panathinaikos, was ignored by Basket League officials during last week’s board meeting.
However, Olympiacos’ owners acknowledged after Friday’s meeting that the discussion surrounding a “cleanup” of the refereeing situation in Greek basketball had begun. The Aggelopoulos brothers did, however, express their disappointment with the absence of the President of the Hellenic Basketball Federation, Giorgos Vasilakopoulos.
Meanwhile, Vasiliadis confirmed that Sunday’s derby in Piraeus will not be played as Olympiacos will go ahead with their decision to forfeit the contest, citing that the Olympiacos brass is ready to accept the consequences of such a decision.