Panathinaikos fined … again (Olympiacos too)

Greek sides Panathinaikos and Olympiacos have been fined by the Euroleague for failure to control their respective crowds during seperate quarter-final match-ups.

This latest penalty for Panathinaikos, a €30,000 fine is for lighting fireworks in the arena, throwing objects onto the court and using laser-pointers while the opposition went to the free throw line.

It is the fourth time that they have had to cough up money to Euroleague Basketball this season.

Rivals Olympiacos have been fined a total of €97,000 for a string of offences, including the lighting of fireworks inside the arena, threatening behaviour towards other members of the crowd, and the failure to adopt all necessary preventive measures to avoid disturbances during their games with Barcelona, especially in game four of the Euroleague quarter-final Playoffs.

Olympiacos have been ordered to play their next Euroleague home game, which will be next season, behind closed doors.

This is the Reds’ first fine of the season.

Euroleague statement:

Euroleague Basketball has announced disciplinary sanctions pertaining to incidents that occurred in the Playoffs Game 4 of the Turkish Airlines Euroleague. The sanctions are based on infractions of the competition by-laws that all teams are aware of and obliged to fulfill. The following sanctions were handed down by the Euroleague Basketball Independent Disciplinary Judge:

– Panathinaikos Athens has been sanctioned with a fine of 15,000€ for the lighting of fireworks, a fine of 10,000€ for the use of objects that could disturb the job of the people involved in a game, and a fine of 5,000€ for the throwing of objects onto the playing court, during Game 4 of the playoff series against CSKA Moscow.

– Olympiacos Piraeus has been sanctioned with a total fine of 97,000€ for the invasion of the playing area by spectators, the lighting of fireworks inside the arena and for incidents that threaten the physical well-being of the attendees, and the failure to adopt all necessary preventive measures to avoid disturbances during Game 4 of the playoff series against FC Barcelona. Also, this last infraction has led Olympiacos to having to play its next home game behind closed doors, without spectators.

With a long and unfortunate history, involving Panathinaikos – is it time for the Euroleague to start introducing tougher sanctions against repeat offenders?

There is no denying that Panathinaikos boast some of the most dedicated and passionate followings in the Euroleague but when fixed penalties do not work and safety nets around the playing area doesn’t suffice, not to mention the club’s general manager Dimitris Giannakopoulos attempting to assault officials; could it be about time for the Euroleague to properly put an end to this and enforce harsher punishment – such as €500,000 fines and above, suspensions or even expulsion from the Euroleague?

It seems that Panathinaikos, and to a lesser extent, Olympiacos have been unable to control their crowds for years now and maybe the Greens’ fourth offence this season is enough to make Euroleague’s board re-evaluate their policies.

“I remember when Panathinaikos fans stupidly attempted to throw objects at Olympiacos fans during the 2012 Final Four, even though they were at complete opposite ends of the stadium,” recalled a Greek journalist who covered the said Final Four, three years ago.

“There were fights outside the stadium, both days and CSKA Moscow’s Nenad Krstic [now at Anadolu Efes] was nearly struck by a can that apparently contained urine, which came from the Panathinaikos end.”

It isn’t just the Euroleague that has been busy with invoking sanctions. The Greek league imposed a €16,300 fine on Panathinaikos and €15,400 on Olympiacos when the 2013 Greek Cup final was frequently stopped due to crowd trouble.

Players Kyle Hines and Michael Bramos were hit by flares and a blunt knife, respectively, though thankfully neither suffered serious injuries.

Both teams were also ordered to play four home games behind closed doors.

But, in the end, unless tougher sanctions are enforced, this mindless act of hooliganism will continue to occur.