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“Basketball died today”

By Nikos Varlas, Aris Barkas/,

The Greek cup final ended, but it’s just – as usual – the first chapter in the yearly ongoing battle between Panathinaikos and Olympiacos on and, above all, off the court. During the game’s half hour interruption a statement by the Greens’ owner Dimitris Giannakopoulos (photo) was given to the media, accusing every section of Olympiacos – football, basketball, volleyball etc – as the “club of filth”.

The statement is the following: “It’s unthinkable that something like this happens. What else is left to be seen? What we should remember? The stones that were thrown in our team’s bus last season, something that had also happened before? The incidents in football or in volleyball? Is there a judge with the backbone to punish this club of filth? It’s not acceptable that the victim and the violator receive the same punishment. They “destroy” the game when it’s in their favor. I heard that they even stubbed Bramos. At last, someone should punish them…”

Of course, there was an answer by Olympiacos and it was much harsher than usual. After the game the owners of the Reds, Aggelopoulos brothers, gave their own press conference that lasted almost one hour.

They spoke about the tactics used by the current Panathinaikos’ management and they said: “Basketball died today. The difference is that hooliganism is not just a social phenomenon that has to be dealt with, but now it’s something official by the ownership of a team. It was obvious when the gym was evacuated by looking at the 50 persons that were accredited by our team as guests and the 50 persons chosen by Panathinaikos. The players of Olympiacos who are also playing for the national team told us in the locker room that they are eye witnesses of the fact that in the last minutes of the game the president of Panathinaikos decided to sit on the side of his team’s bench and he was cursing at the referees and threatening them. We had decided to hold that press conference, no matter the result of the game. We have two roads to chose from. Either to become hooligans too, or to stay on our course. We will continue on our course and we expect from the state and the public prosecutor to act. We know that on Monday the sports public prosecutor will make an announcement for everything that happened during last week”.

During this week and after the game between Olympiacos and Panathinaikos for the league, which the Reds won, stones were thrown at the house of Anastasios Piloidis, who was one of the referees. Olympiacos filed an objection for the result of the Cup final and when the team owners were asked why the team decided to play after Kyle Hines was hit by a flare, they answered that the game commissioner, Antonis Manos, said that he wasn’t present during the incident, he hadn’t seen it, so he didn’t take any action for the postponement of the final.

On Monday morning Dimitris Giannakopoulos reacted to Aggelopoulos brothers’ press conference with the following statement: “The customer is always right, specially if he is a customer of us for over a decade like Olympiacos and Aggelopoulos”.

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