By Eurohoops team/ firstname.lastname@example.org
Olympiacos has recently been relegated to the Greek second division and it became one of the topics at the EuroLeague General Assembly.
Panathinaikos president Manos Papadopoulos raised the question: “How is it possible for a team to play in the second division and in the Euroleague at the same time? This defames and detracts from our product and our organization. By accepting this, do we allow any large club such as Panathinaikos, Barcelona, Real Madrid or Maccabi to follow the example of Olympiacos and blackmail their domestic league for their interests? If it’s the refs or the schedule for example? Any team can say now that we are leaving if you don’t want to schedule us to play on Monday or appoint a certain referee.”
The commercial director of Olympiacos Nikos Lepeniotis answered back: “I am very surprised to see Mr. Papadopoulos’ interest in the Greek league. They should have addressed the issue in the past months at a local level, not here at the Euroleague General Assembly. This is something that concerns the Greek League and not the Euroleague and of course, it has nothing to do with extortion but with the credibility of the championship. I would also like to ask Mr. Papadopoulos, the clubs and the league management if something needs to be done for the members of Euroleague, who blackmail the rest of the league.”
In the end, the EuroLeague president, chairman and CEO Jordi Bertomeu intervened: “We had some problems with Panathinaikos, they certainly admitted some mistakes and exaggerations, but we found a way to continue with them.”
The report comes from gazzetta.gr.
It should also be noted that the official press release by EuroLeague states the following regarding the situation: “Additionally, attendees also agreed on maintaining the obligation of clubs to participate in their respective Domestic Leagues to be able to obtain a EuroLeague/EuroCup license, with exceptions only made by the ECA Shareholders Executive Board after the evaluation of a specific situation that may prevent a club from meeting this requirement.”