SPORTS

Super League rules derby has to resume from the 70th minute

GEORGE GEORGAKOPOULOS

TAGS: Soccer

In a shock decision by the Super League on Friday, the derby between Panathinaikos and Olympiakos that was abandoned last Sunday will resume from the point when it was stopped, i.e. the 70th minute.

The Disciplinary Committee of the league decided to accept the case Panathinaikos made against the abandonment of the game less than an hour from its temporary stop by referee Marco Fritz, ruling that the German official should not have made that decision just 35 minutes from the moment he, his assistants and the two teams rushed to the locker rooms.

By the same decision Panathinaikos is slapped with a three-point deduction for its fans’ violence as well as a two-game stadium ban and a fine.

The match at the Olympic Stadium of Athens was stopped with the score at 1-0 in Olympiakos’s favor, when the tear gas police used (as it tried to contain Panathinaikos fans rioting outside the ground) affected fans and players in the stadium.

A number of fans had to leave the stands on the side close to the riots to seek refuge elsewhere and entered the area around the pitch, thereby posing a threat to players and officials. The combination of this with the gas in the atmosphere forced Fritz to stop the match.

Although the rules book says the referee has to wait for an hour to decide whether the game should be definitively abandoned or not, Fritz chose to inspect the pitch after just 35 minutes. Upon seeing some 200 fans left at the stands – although no call for an evacuation had been issued – Fritz decided he had seen enough to abandon the match for good.

It is the riots outside the stadium that led to the deduction of the three points from Panathinaikos’s league tally, but the fact that the match will resume means the Greens escape the deduction of another three points. They will still have to pay a fine of 94,500 euros.

The Super League will now have to rule when and how the match will resume, as it appears highly unlikely there will be any fans at the stands or that Fritz and his assistants will return to Greece to officiate for the 21 minutes left on the clock.

The league’s organizer will probably have to wait to see whether Olympiakos appeals the decision, as it has the right to do, so that the federation makes a final ruling on the matter.

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