By Johnny Askounis/ firstname.lastname@example.org
Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv canceled Thursday’s practice. The Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Regular Season Round 21 fixture versus Panathinaikos OPAP in Athens initially scheduled to be held tomorrow, Friday, was suspended, Euroleague Basketball announced later Thursday.
Per the press release: “The Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Regular Season Round 21 game Panathinaikos OPAP Athens vs. Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv, originally scheduled to be played on Friday, January 14, has been suspended. Maccabi requested the suspension after several team members tested positive for COVID-19, which leaves the team without the minimum eight players on the Authorization List fit to play.
Following the Special Regulations due to COVID-19, approved by the ECA Shareholders Executive Board, each game can be rescheduled up to three times, if there are available dates. Euroleague Basketball will coordinate with the affected teams the best options to reschedule the games. Alternative dates will be announced on official Euroleague Basketball platforms.”
The team coached by Greek tactician Giannis Sfairopoulos has remained idle since January 3 due to multiple players and members of the coaching staff testing positive for COVID-19. Apart from domestic competitions, the coronavirus spike has resulted in the suspension of Round 19 and 20 home games versus Bitci Baskonia and ALBA Berlin, respectively.
Multiple more games of Europe’s premier club continental competition have been suspended since Round 17. Zalgiris facing AX Armani Exchange Milan was the first game pushed back due to positive COVID-19 cases.
Round 18 features five games, Olympiacos vs. CSKA Moscow, Olimpia Milano vs. Alba Berlin, LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne vs. FC Bayern Munich, Panathinaikos OPAP vs. Zalgiris, and Fenerbahce Beko vs. Real Madrid, suspended.
All nine Round 19 fixtures were suspended before action resumed in Round 20 with four out of the nine games being held according to the initial schedule over the top end of the double-game week. Apart from Maccabi’s game, Zenit Saint Petersburg vs. ASVEL, AS Monaco vs. UNICS Kazan, Crvena Zvezda mts vs. Real, and Baskonia vs. Anadolu Efes were not played.
Round 21’s Olympiacos vs. Zenit, Fenerbahce vs. Alba, Zalgiris vs. Crvena Zvezda, and Milan vs. UNICS previously pushed back raised the total of suspended games to 26. Six fixtures have been since rescheduled as involved teams hope to recover from the positive COVID-19 tests and get the 2021-22 campaign back on track.