By Graham Wood
ATHENS (Reuters) – Panathinaikos have been docked three points and ordered to play four home matches behind closed after fan violence disrupted the Athens derby against Olympiakos Piraeus.
The Greek Super League’s disciplinary committee also fined the Greens 190,000 euros and handed Olympiakos a 3-0 victory in their ruling on Monday on the match that was called off before kickoff. The points deduction leaves Panathinaikos, who have already exercised their right to appeal calling the penalty “predatory” in a strongly-worded media statement, in fifth place with 19 points, 17 behind leaders Olympiakos. Referee Andreas Pappas made the decision to call off the Nov. 21 match following violent clashes inside and outside the Apostolos Nikolaidis Stadium and after a flare had exploded at the feet of Olympiakos players on the pitch. The decision to call off the game prompted chaos with a mass pitch invasion by home fans who fought ugly running battles with riot police. “The predatory sentence imposed by the…the Super League has left a painful impression on the club, indicating a clear predisposition to make an example out of Panathinaikos by punishing us beyond the realm of its responsibility,” the statement said. “It goes without saying that Panathinaikos will move forward with an appeal to overturn these legal discrepancies and firmly believes it will be vindicated. Panathinaikos is consistently leading the fight against corruption in Greek football, and is working with the state to eliminate violence in stadiums.”
(Editing by Rex Gowar)