Panathinaikos owner Dimitris Giannakopoulos has said that the majority of this season’s team will remain in Athens despite a whirlwind 48 hours following their EuroLeague elimination by Fenerbahce.
Various Greek media outlets reported that Panathinaikos players took a bus home from Istanbul to Athens following Game 3 on Giannakopoulos’ orders after he cancelled the team’s flight home.
And despite the protests from the players themselves, including Antonis Fotsis, Chris Singleton, Mike James and Kenny Gabriel, who refused to follow the team and travel by bus, the club remained defiant issuing a statement today, regarding on their decision.
“The decision to return by bus from Istanbul is not related to the defeat and the missed chance to qualify to the EuroLeague Final Four,” the club statement said.
“It’s a result of continuing incidents of lack of discipline and professionalism by some players and ultimately a result of the indifference and unconditional surrender of some players at Game 3. We hope that we will not have to take again similar measures in the future.”
The press release went on to say that the players did not apologise to the fans that had spent their hard-earned money and had sold out the OAKA for the first two games against Fenerbahce.
Fenerbahce won the two games in Athens, en route to a 3-0 sweep to reach next month’s Final Four, which is also staged in Istanbul.
Panathinaikos arrived back home to the Greek capital at 7am on Thursday morning, with coach Xavi Pascual giving his team two days off. The focus now turns to the Greek League championship which Giannakopoulos confirmed the team are concentrating on.