OFFICIAL: Olympiacos refuse to play Panathinaikos in playoffs
As expected, Olympiacos have refused to participate in the first game of the Basket League quarter-finals against Panathinaikos, with the Erythrolefki now facing automatic relegation to the second tier in accordance with ESAKE regulations.
On Saturday, club owner Giorgos Angelopoulos revealed that Olympiacos won’t play in the Basket League quarter-final against Panathinaikos, but there was still hope that the club would backtrack on the decision. However, on Monday morning, the Erythrolefki informed the police that no security measures would need to be put in place at the OAKA Indoor Hall.
Olympiacos released these following images of documents concerning their ongoing appeal against the selection of referees for the final round of the 2018/2019 Basket League regular season, which lacked the signature of Refereeing Department chairman Stelios Symeonidis:
Olympiacos will not compete in the Basket League playoff series against Panathinaikos and are set to be relegated to the second division. The Piraeus giants are eager to move across to the ABA League for the 2019/2020 season.
Their EuroLeague participation will not be affected by their possible relegation.
Panathinaikos published this statement in connection with Olympiacos’ decision:
“Panathinaikos OPAP BC informs its fans that it is aware of a letter sent by Olympiacos BC to the General Police Directorate of Attica, which stated that their team will not participate in today’s playoff match in the Basket League championship (20/5, 19:00).”
Nevertheless, despite the news, Panathinaikos’ players turned up to the OAKA as scheduled and held a training session:
Fiery Panathinaikos owner Dimitris Giannakopoulos was also in attendance at the OAKA, while supporters unfurled banners:
A chicken was placed on the Olympiacos bench, mocking the Piraeus-based organisation for not playing the match:
EuroLeague CEO Jordi Bertomeu had his say on the situation, placing the blame on the Hellenic Basketball Federation:
“The conflict between Olympiacos and Panathinaikos is of local interest, but we aren’t indifferent and neutral. I’m disappointed and feel it’s a shame for basketball that the Hellenic Basketball Federation, which for years paved the way for how leagues should operate, has failed to find a solution. In such cases, direct moves are needed, not passive behaviors that prove the inability to intervene effectively and find a solution. Olympiacos and Panathinaikos have a rivalry, which shouldn’t rise beyond basketball. Their coexistence in the EuroLeague hasn’t created problems, because both sides understand the environment and respect the rules. What is happening domestically is unthinkable. I wonder if anyone has anything to gain if Olympiacos is relegated.”
At 19:20 local time, it was confirmed that Panathinaikos have been granted a 20-0 walkover victory: