Panathinaikos president, Dimitris Giannakopoulos, accuses the Euroleague of favoritism

Emmanuel Laurin

Dimitris Giannakopoulos is tired of it… So the president of Greek powerhouse Panathinaikos decided he would take the lead and make his fight known to the public. 

Giannakopoulos sent a package with a letter, a 50-page booklet and a 38-minute long DVD (entitled « Wrong decisions of the Euroleague’s referees 2017/2018 ») to several European media outlets, including BasketEurope, to report a favoritism from the Euroleague instances towards Olympiakos and Fenerbahçe. 

Here are the main elements of his letter… There are very few precedents, if none at all, of such an initiative coming from a club towards the instances of the Euroleague. 

Dear basketball journalists and editors,

I am reaching out to you wishing to call your attention to a matter of importance with regards to the Euroleague competition. I address this letter to you, as it is you who come into contact with basketball players and executives and convey data, information and opinions to basketball fans worldwide. Our love for this sport is what connects us all.

Over the last few months, we have noted a pattern of events which set the value and attractiveness of the Euroleague competition at risk and our investment, both in terms of time and money, in danger.

In the DVD and presentation hereby included, you will find all the facts supporting the allegation that some teams in the competition, namely Olympiacos Piraeus and Fenerbahce, receive preferential treatment from the referees, resulting in an unfair treatment of all other Clubs competing against them. I ask of you to dedicate an hour to watch the DVD and draw your own conclusions. Indicatively, you shall note the following:

  • A plethora of wrongly called fouls.
  • Unsportsmanlike conduct on the part of players of the aforementioned teams, which remains unpunishable by the referees
  • Olympiacos ranks 16th on the offense table, yet ranks at the top of the free throws table and at number two of the overall standing.
  • Olympiacos Piraeus and Fenerbahce are, beyond doubt, the best two defensive teams in the Euroleague competition. However, they play along the fine line between what is and what is not considered a foul, with the help of the referees, and find their teams receiving very few fouls in most games.
  • In many of the games they participate, there is a vast difference in fouls earned by them and the opposing team.
  • inexplicable, repeated, erroneous referee decisions.
  • Presentation of fouls as « blocks of the night” by the official Euroleague channel.

This crisis that is taking place is the biggest that basketball has ever faced and the sports community has to act in a consistent and structured way in order to replace the transparency of the competition. One of the major pillar of the success of basketball is the media coverage of the game. By keeping this situation in silent mode, the only winner is not the sport, but certain financial lobbies. Please act at your own will, but always remember that publishing the truth is the soul of justice.

Dimitris Giannakopoulos

The full content of the study led by Giannakopoulos’ staff (?) can be viewed here and can be sent on request.

Contacted by us, the Euroleague replied that they « will not provide any official statement on this topic ». 

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