By Aris Barkas/ firstname.lastname@example.org
The writings were on the wall but it’s finally done. The central refereeing committee announced the three referees (Koromilas, Karakatsounis, Papapetrou) for the upcoming Greek league game between Olympiacos and Panathinaikos which is scheduled for Sunday and the demand of the Reds for the appointment of Greek referees was not fulfilled.
Olympiacos is expected to lose the game by forfeit, there will be no tickets issued for the game and the club is in contact with the Adriatic League for a possible future move to the neighboring competition.
After everything that happened in the semifinal game against Panathinaikos and the demand of Olympiacos for foreign referees in their games against the Greens, the collision course between Olympiacos and the Greek league and the Greek basketball federation who is in charge of the referees and their appointments was predetermined.
Panathinaikos strongly opposed the demand of Olympiacos in the recent league board meeting and yesterday accused the Reds via a press release for “blackmailing” while being a “sinking ship” that tries to bully the rest of the league.
Having said that, it must be noted that there’s no provision in the Greek league bylaws about having non-Greek referees appointed in Greek league games. On the other hand, due to similar demands in the Greek football league, non-Greek referees are appointed in major football games. So this practice is not foreign to the country, even if it’s unusual for league rules to change during mid-season.