SPORTS

Final postponed until further notice

The Greek Cup final has been postponed to a later date, as organizers feel they do not have enough time to arrange for the presence of fans for Sunday, March 6.

The General Secretariat for Sports had insisted that the match between Olympiakos and Panathinaikos at the Elliniko court be attended by pupils only, fearing clashes between fans after a soccer derby between the two teams ended in violence on February 19.

However, the Ministry of Education, which had a week earlier undertaken the responsibility of distributing 3,000 tickets to the cup final to schools, said on February 28 that it was unable to do so.

An emergency meeting on March 1 ended in complete disagreement among the parties concerned. The General Secretariat for Sports insisted on pupils, the Hellenic Basketball Federation asked for just a few hundred fans to be allowed onto the stands, as had happened in previous years, the police said it was unable to control the crowds, Olympiakos offered to bring in 500 children from its academies and Panathinaikos called for the final to be postponed.

Eventually, it was the latter solution that was chosen – which suits the Greens just as well, given that they would have to play a final just three days after a crucial game for the Euroleague, against Malaga in Spain on March 3.

Interestingly, press reports suggest that there were hardly any teachers who would undertake to go along with their pupils to a basketball match in the middle of the Carnival weekend.

Olympiakos managing director Christos Stavropoulos, after leaving the meeting, said the decision was «scandalous.”

A new date for the final will be set at a later meeting, whose date is also unknown. Yet the calendar of both clubs is so full that the next available slot is likely to be almost two months away, on April 30.

What?s more, the decision means that there will be no basketball action on the weekend of March 5-6, as the league resumes on March 9.