SPORTS

Cup game restricted to pupils and athletes

The volleyball cup match between Olympiakos and Panathinaikos on March 2 will be played in front of pupils and athletes only, while the next round of the league may well be postponed due to a referee strike.

The General Secretariat for Sports and the Hellenic Volleyball Federation agreed to stage the semifinal in Piraeus in front of school students, athletes and officials only, just as they had done for the finals in the last couple of years between the two clubs at Palaio Faliro.

Olympiakos and Panathinaikos put their reservations aside and agreed to the plan, which also envisages a similar scenario for the women’s volleyball match between the two sides at Panathinaikos’s home court.

This decision comes after a soccer derby last weekend between the two clubs ended in chaos that has generated a number of violent incidents by fans.

Fans or no fans, the referees have decided that enough is enough and called a strike for the weekend of February 26-27 to protest at not being paid by the league for the matches they officiate.

The league, in response, branded their move as «blackmail.» However, the two sides may well reach an agreement in time for the weekend games to take place after all.

Meanwhile, EA Patras was in action on February 23 and lost to Macerata 3-1 at home in the first leg of the Challenge Cup semifinal.

The experienced and expensive Italian side was the better team except for in the first set (25-27, 25-18, 25-15, 25-15), and will need a victory by any score in the return leg to take place on Sunday in Italy.