The independent disciplinary judge for Euroleague Basketball has handed down his decisions within the specific deadline established in the Euroleague Bylaws concerning incidents that occurred during the recent Turkish Airlines Euroleague Final Four in Istanbul, Turkey. Citing the substance of the incidents in question, combined with the history of sanctions concerning the same clubs, the judge has issued fines to both Panathinaikos Athens and Olympiacos Piraeus. Euroleague Basketball concurs with the judge's conclusion that the incidents, though isolated, were detrimental to the image of the sport and to the values upheld on an otherwise highly consistent basis throughout Turkish Airlines Euroleague. As such, Euroleague Basketball will dedicate the proceeds from the fines to work with these clubs and their fans on measures to avoid such incidents in the future.
With regards to Panathinaikos, the judge sanctioned the club with a €100,000 fine for violent incidents that occurred in and around Sinan Erdem Arena, the host venue of the Final Four, on May 13, 2012. The judge reached his decision in the context of six previous sanctions for fan violence given to Panathinaikos during the season and the underlying regulations that call for harsher punishment for repeat offenders. He also cited demonstrable damage to the image of Euroleague Basketball, the Turkish Airlines Euroleague Final Four and the sport of basketball in general as a result of the incidents being seen in up to 175 countries where the games were broadcasted live and being reported in news platforms worldwide afterwards. He noted that the possibility that such violence could have resulted in serious injury or fatality would have done untold long-term harm to the sport.
"Considering the amplitude of the incidents and of the violent clashes in the surroundings of the arena during the 13 May 2012 as well as bearing in mind its history of infringements during the whole 2011-2012 season, there is no doubt that Panathinaikos has remarkably important issues with the supervision of its fans in general and with the prevention of violence, in particular," the decision says. "Taking into account the number of persons involved (between 200 and 300 hundred, representing an impressive proportion of fans who had travelled to Istanbul), Panathinaikos cannot reasonably allege that the said incidents were the act of just a few bullies.
"In sport, the spirit of fair play and good sportsmanship must prevail and violence in verbal as well as physical attacks must be banned. Too many fans of Panathinaikos repeatedly and willingly disregard those fundamental values."
In the case of Olympiacos, the judge imposed a fine of €15,000 for the invasion of the court by fans at the conclusion of the final game. He cited previous infractions on the part of Olympiacos in levying the fine.
Euroleague Basketball takes the disciplinary judge's ruling with the utmost seriousness and concern for the safety and enjoyment of our teams and fans and communicates within the deadline granted, in accordance to the regulations. Out of respect for them and our sport, Euroleague Basketball will be soliciting stricter measures to all participating clubs, including automatic suspension from participation in future competitions, for repetition of such incidents. Euroleague Basketball believes that this violence is intolerable and not only degrades the sport of basketball but works against sporting values and the industry as a whole.