Trouble is afoot in Greek basketball right now. Two Titans of the sport, Olympiacos Piraeus and Panathinaikos Athens faced off in the semi-finals of the ongoing Greek Cup on Thursday. However, much to the chagrin of fans in attendance at the Olympic stadium in Athens, the game ended abruptly with Olympiacos leaving the court and forfeiting the game at halftime, down 40-25.
A spokesman for Olympiacos said he was “disgusted” with the quality of the officiating in the game.
The Greek government has already weighed in and has condemned the walkout with Deputy Minister of Sport Giorgios Vassiliadis calling it “a blow to the sport.”
There is more to the story, however, as Panathinaikos owner
Dimitris Giannakopoulos said,
“It was something that had already been planned. It seems that they cannot pay their players, they have given up and now they say they don’t like the refs. “
Olympiacos officials then later issued a press release after the game that stated:
– We state that: From now on the team won’t participate in any game of domestic competitions against Panathinaikos without the presence of foreign referees, exclusively.
– We state that: From now on the team won’t compete in any game of domestic competitions against any opponent if the game is officiated by referees Anastopoulos, Manos and Panagiotou [The Greek Cup semifinal referees).
– We ask for the authorities in charge to thoroughly investigate the reasons for the collapse of the betting yield of a possible Panathinaikos win in last night’s game. The collapse reportedly happened exactly after the announcement of the referees that the Referring Committee appointed to officiate the game.
– From now on, Dimitris Giannaokopoulos’ entrance in “Peace and Friendship” arena won’t be allowed, if the latter attempts to enter the arena in any capacity.
Both organizations are fierce rivals and things just a lot uglier. Sadly, the true victims of this feud will in the end be the fans and the sport itself. Hopefully, officials will find an amicable resolution to this and avoid a true Greek tragedy.