Playoff decision to be made Wednesday, All clubs in favor to increase teams to 16
A new Basket League General Assembly will be held on Wednesday where a decision will be made regarding the 2018/19 playoffs, while a unanimous vote passed to increase the league’s teams 16.
After a dramatic end to the Basket League regular season on Wednesday, where Panathinaikos announced their withdrawal from the league, an emergency Basket League General Assembly was scheduled on Thursday to discuss the various matters surrounding the league. Representatives from all clubs attended including Panathinaikos owner Dimitris Giannakopoulos and part Olympioacs owner Georgios Angelopoulos (arrived two hours after the meeting started).
After eight hours of discussion, it was decided that another General Assembly meeting will be held on Wednesday, May 15th. There, a final decision will be made regarding the 2018/19 playoffs, which were originally scheduled to begin on Sunday, in addition to other matters concerning the league. In the meantime, a five member committee was appointed to compose and discuss proposals regarding various matters including the refereeing situation, broadcasting rights, and others.
To put it lightly, the eight-hour meeting was a heated affair...
Olympiacos’ proposal falls through, Panathinaikos demand Olympiacos be removed
Olympiacos proposed that the league be suspended indefinitely for this season in order to negotiate a new TV broadcasting deal, which includes a ‘centralized’ contract for all teams within the league. This would mean Olympiacos would forfeit their current deal with Cosmote TV, a decision that would cost the club 4.5 million euros, and replace it with a new, centralized TV deal.
This is something the 11 ‘smaller’ teams in the league are in favor of (excluding Panathinaikos and AEK who have a contract with Cosmote) as this would increase their revenue from TV contracts. Olympiacos’ proposal also included that the refereeing situation be handled by a professional entity such as the ESAKE and not by the Hellenic Basketball Federation (EOK).
However, Olympiacos’ condition to indefinitely suspend the current league season, in order to proceed with this proposal, resulted in a 12-1 vote against the idea (Kymi did not vote).
On the other hand, arch rivals Panathinaikos requested that Olympiacos be removed from the league for everything they have done, including striking fear into referees for simply carrying out their duty to officiate matches. The Trifylli blame Olympiacos for Tuesday night’s incidents that took place at referee Panagiotis Anastopoulos’ house.
Playoff start date to be decided on Wednesday
When the playoff start date was brought into the discussion, there was confusion surrounding the league’s by-laws. Olympiacos have lodged a pending appeal to the Supreme Council for the Resolution of Sports Disputes (ASEAD) regarding the appointment of referee Panagiotis Anastopoulos for their final regular season game against Promitheas. As long as this appeal is pending, it is assumed that the playoffs cannot begin.
Panathinaikos’ legal advisor, however, mentioned that the pending appeal is not a lawful reason for delaying the playoffs. This matter was tabled to be discussed further by the league’s legal advisor and the President and will be brought up in Wednesday’s meeting.
Refusal to compete in playoffs will result in relegation
The Basket League’s legal advisor mentioned that according to Article 5 in the league’s by-laws, any club that refuses to compete in the playoffs will be automatically demoted to the second division. This statute was also confirmed by the Basket League’s President Vaggelis Galatsopoulos in an interview after the meeting.
This will have major repercussions for both Olympiacos and Panathinaikos if either or both clubs refuse to compete in the postseason. The two rivals are scheduled to meet in the first round of the playoffs after Panathinaikos claimed third place in the regular season and Olympiacos finished in sixth.
On one hand, Panathinaikos have withdrawn from the league all together and refuse to compete unless their demands are met (Olympiacos to be punished and for the rules of the league to be enforced) while Olympiacos refuse to play against Panathinaikos with Greek referees officiating the match. Accordingly to reports, Olympiacos motioned a proposal for foreign referees to be appointed for their playoff matches against Panathinaikos, however it was denied by a 13-1 vote.
All clubs in favor to increase league to 16 teams
On the bright side, common ground was found when Lavrio proposed an increase in the league’s teams to 16 teams (currently 14 teams participate). This motion was unanimously (!) agreed upon and the EOK will have the final decision on this matter. If the federation agrees to increase the number of teams, the 2019/20 Basket League will consist of 16 teams.
Lavrio were relegated to the second division on the final matchday after finishing 15th in the regular season standings. Kolossos Rodou were also relegated with their bottom of the table placement.