By Aris Barkas/ firstname.lastname@example.org
After being postponed for one week, the Greek League playoffs are expected to start this weekend, but the question marks about Olympiacos and the future of the club in the league remains. The regular season ended with Panathinaikos forfeiting the game against Kimi and a Molotov cocktail being thrown at the house of referee Panagiotis Anastopoulos.
Olympiacos participated in today’s meeting despite last week’s refusal from the rest of the league to accept their proposals for the reform of the Greek championship. Olympiacos also proceeded to legal action, asking from the high council for the solution of athletic disputes – the highest sports court in Greece – to void the final round of the regular season on the grounds that all referees assignments were illegal. The verdict is expected tomorrow and, at least in theory, all the games of the last round can be replayed, since only two out of the five members of the central refereeing committee were present during the assignments of the last round referees.
That’s why Olympiacos left today’s meeting with Olympiacos owner Panagiotis Aggelopoulos stating: “We will not take part in a coup. They are still unresolved court decisions that should be taken into account”. As the club announced, Olympiacos is expected to take more legal action, this time against the rest of the league for confirming the final regular season standings. Olympiacos also presented a new set of proposals for the reform of the league which was once more refused today.
Without the Reds in presence, the league decided the following:
- To ask from the Greek basketball federation for one season the expansion of the Greek League to 16 teams. No team will be relegated this year, but four teams will be relegated after the end of the 2019-20 season. The league will return to the 14 teams format in the 2018-19 season.
- The final standings were confirmed.
- The television rights will not be sold any more separately by each club and a workgroup will lay the groundwork for next season.
- A change should be made in the refereeing department after a meeting with the Greek basketball federation.
- The penalties for owners and league contributors will be higher.
- The final vote on all those matters will be given after the end of the season.
It has to be noted that the 16-format league will be applied for one season because the decision of Panathinaikos to forfeit the game against Kimi had, as a result, the relegation of Lavrio, due to Kimi’s 20-0 win. The league decided that it was fair for Lavrio to not be relegated and this formula was used.
On the other hand, last week Olympiacos proposed a postponement of the playoffs and offered part of the club’s television contract revenues to other teams in order for changes to be made to the league immediately, especially on the refereeing department. Olympiacos asked for the current season to end without playoffs in order to be part of a central television rights distribution. The rest of the teams refused Olympiacos proposal, stating that it was a blackmail and they wanted to have playoffs.
The bottom line, however, remains the same. The schedule of the playoffs is not announced yet and Panathinaikos which finished third behind AEK and Peristeri, after forfeiting the last game of the regular season, will have to meet the sixth Olympiacos who was punished with a total of -8 points for forfeiting two games, one in the Greek league and one in the Greek Cup, both against Panathinaikos.
The Reds have announced that they will not play against Panathinaikos without foreign referees, an option which is out of the table. And despite two months of drama and meetings the end result, if Olympiacos forfeits one playoffs game against Panathinaikos, will be the same. Olympiacos will end the season being relegated to the second division, on a year that the league ultimately decided that no team should be relegated…