SPORTS

Decision postpones Kavala’s game against Larissa as the new basketball season begins

Just 24 hours before the start of the new basketball season, the Professional Sports Commission (EEA) refused yesterday to issue a participation certificate for Enosi Kavalas, forcing the postponement of the newly promoted team’s opening match with Larissa today. Kavala’s application lacked a crucial document from the Development Ministry, so EEA was forced to reject it. It remains unclear which team will be the 14th of the A1 at this stage, but the league’s organizer ESAKE announced promptly that the Kavala vs Larissa game is off until further notice. Reports suggest the case will be heard again on Monday. Kavala suggests that the issue is a mere formality and it will be settled once the delayed document from the Development Ministry is forwarded to them. Enosi Kavalas was in the third division last year but its wealthy owner secured a merger with cash-strapped Panorama that had just achieved promotion to the A1 division in spring. A number of A2 clubs that could benefit from the possible withdrawal of Panorama from the league protested about that merger, arguing that Kavala is effectively buying out a top-flight spot. One of those clubs, Ionikos Lamias actually went as far as withdrawing from basketball competitions altogether. Dafni, from southern Athens, referred Kavala and ESAKE to the highest sports court (ASEAD) but lost the case on Thursday; however, the tireless efforts of the Dafni’s president, Costas Tzivelekas, seem now to have reaped some gains. Dafni had finished third in last year’s A2 division, with Trikala and Panorama gaining promotion, so the Athens club is the next in line for a place in the top division. It actually issued a statement yesterday afternoon asking the Hellenic Basketball Federation (EOK) for the postponement of its first game in the A2 division with Xanthi scheduled for today and for a written confirmation to ESAKE that the team now belongs to the A1. The Larissa squad was traveling by bus toward Kavala yesterday afternoon when the news about the postponement of the match reached it outside Thessaloniki, forcing the team to turn around and return to the city of Larissa after a six-hour trip – much to the driver’s dismay. What’s on The other six games of the first round of A1 are going ahead as scheduled. Today Aris is hosting Panellinios, Olympia Larissa clashes with new boys Trikala and Egaleo meets title hopeful Olympiakos. Tomorrow champion Panathinaikos entertains Maroussi and AEK greets Kolossos Rhodes, with both games being played behind closed doors due to penalties carried over from last season. PAOK will face Panionios on Wednesday; the game was postponed due to the Thessaloniki Song Festival.