Olympiacos set for relegation after refusal to play Panathinaikos
Olympiacos have confirmed they won’t show up for the first match of the Basket League quarter-final series against Panathinaikos, with the Piraeus giants now set for automatic relegation to the second tier.
Yesterday, ESAKE revealed that referees Panagiotis Anastopoulos, Anastasios Manos, and Panagiotis Diamantis will oversee proceedings in the first game, with Olympiacos having already stated that they wouldn’t play in a match refereed by Anastopoulos and Manos. The Erythrolefki have also claimed that the validation of the Basket League regular season standings was illegal given that their appeal against the selection process of referees for the final round of games is still ongoing.
On Saturday, Olympiacos owner Giorgos Angelopoulos held a meeting with members of Gate 7, confirming that the team won’t play Panathinaikos at the OAKA Indoor Hall on Monday:
“We have made the decision not to play. We don’t want to continue thinking that the authorities are laughing at us. We said that we would take this to the end, and we will. Olympiacos is our life. Our youngsters will take to the court in the A2 league if we have to play there. Vassilis Spanoulis and Giorgos Printezis will never play in the A2 league, even if the authorities want this to happen. We are waiting to see if we can participate in the ABA League.”
Gate 7 representatives fully supported Angelopoulos’ decision and promised to stick by the club.
Olympiacos are now set to suffer automatic relegation to the second tier after previously forfeiting the Greek Cup semi-final and a Basket League regular season meeting against Panathinaikos. However, this will not affect Olympiacos’ participation in the EuroLeague due to an existing contract between the two parties which means the Erythrolefki cannot be thrown out of the tournament.
EuroLeague CEO Jordi Bertomeu confirmed that Olympiacos will continue to play in the continent’s premier competition: “For us it’s clear. Generally, because we have no influence on national league games and I do not believe that what happens in Greece will affect Euroleague at all. It is very difficult for us to understand what is happening so you can imagine that we are not in a position to solve this issue. I hope for the good of basketball that the whole debate is solved in the best possible way for the sport. Both Greek teams have the ability to be competitive in the Euroleague. This regulation, which says that if a team does not compete in its national league, also cannot compete in the Euroleague, it is purely about competition criteria. If a team is so bad that ends up being relegated due to its results, we have to do something. The Olympiacos case is completely different. We will not apply this regulation to the Olympiacos case if we end up at this point. We will manage it and adapt our regulations.”
It’s expected that Olympiacos’ senior team will compete in the ABA League and EuroLeague in the 2019/2020 campaign, while their youth side plays in the Greek A2 League.
ESAKE CONFIRM PLAYOFFS TO BE PLAYED AS NORMAL
In the morning, ESAKE held an emergency meeting after Olympiacos’ request for the playoffs to be suspended, with the organisation subsequently confirming that all matches will be held as planned.
A majority of 13-1 voted against the proposal put forward by Olympiacos. The Piraeus-based club had also called for the resignation of ESAKE president, Evangelos Galatsopoulos.
These are the first round pairings of the Basket League playoffs with the exclusion of the Panathinaikos - Olympiacos match-up:
AEK (1) - Holargos (8)
Peristeri (2) - Ifaistos Limniou (7)
Promitheas (4) - PAOK (5)