October 31 – Olympiakos have vowed to “exhaust all legal means” to overturn being sanctioned for fan violence that has cost the team its lead in the Greek league.
The October 22 match between Olympiakos and long-time rival Panathinaikos was abandoned in the 50th minute with the score at 1-1 after Panathinaikos defender Juan Carlos Perez Lopez was injured by an exploding firecracker while warming up on the sidelines at Olympiakos’ Karaiskakis Stadium.
On Monday, a sporting tribunal awarded the match 3-0 to Panathinaikos, deducted a point from Olympiakos’ league total and ordered the club to play two home games behind closed doors.
As a result of the ruling and the round of games last weekend, Panathinaikos surged to the top of the table with 22 points from nine matches, followed by Olympiakos with 18 from eight.
Olympiakos said it would “exhaust all legal means for its vindication” in its appeal.
“We are facing a well-organized attempt to tamper with the championship,” the club said in a statement Monday without elaborating.
“Olympiacos has been punished with an unfair and absolutely wrong decision. We are certain it will be overturned on appeal – otherwise it would be a minefield for the league.”
How the club can justify not being punished is hard to fathom. Lopez apparently suffered temporary hearing loss in his left ear and dizziness as a result of the firecracker explosion.
Greek football has been plagued by fan violence for decades despite repeated efforts by successive governments to crack down. Overseas referees are used for key top-flight matches and the Italian referee Fabio Maresca was in charge at the October 22 match.
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