Euroleague Basketball today has announced its decision to change a sanction that had ordered Panathinaikos to play its first Turkish Airlines Euroleague home games this season behind closed doors, instead moving those games to arenas at least 300 kilometers from Athens.
The decision moves ahead the application of the new competition by-laws that will be in force this coming season and allows such changes, under certain circumstances, for the benefit of the basketball community.
“This change in Panathinaikos’s sanction was decided with the fans in mind, as well as with consideration for new competition by-laws to take effect this season,” Jordi Bertomeu, Euroleague Basketball President and CEO, said. “Where the incidents that led to the sanction occurred, the penalty still stands: no games at OAKA. At the same time, we have taken the opportunity to give the team’s large fan base elsewhere a chance to enjoy something in person that they would not otherwise be able to: an official Turkish Airlines Euroleague game.”
The two-game sanction concerns the upcoming regular season’s second and fourth games, which Panathinaikos plays against Laboral Kutxa Vitoria and Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar, respectively. Panathinaikos will now play Laboral Kutxa Vitoria on October 25 at Eleftheria Indoor Hall in Nicosia, Cyprus. It will play Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar on November 7 at Iraklio Arena in Crete. Panathinaikos will not return to its home court, OAKA in Athens, for a Euroleague game until meeting the qualifying rounds winner on November 21.
“We expect that the incidents and infractions that were penalized will not be repeated,” Mr. Bertomeu said. “But we also hope that by taking these games to places like Cyprus and Crete, fans who do not have a regular possibility to do so will be able to enjoy a Turkish Airlines Euroleague game live, turning a negative into a positive for their benefit.”
Editor’s Note: Panathinaikos – Laboral Kutxa Vitoria game will be the first ever Euroleague games to be played in Cyprus, and as such TalkBasket will be there to cover it live.