Fan violence has been common in Greek football for several years but this time it may have big ramifications on the survival of one of the country’s biggest clubs.
German referee Marco Fritz suspended Sunday night’s clash between fierce rivals Panathinaikos and Olympiakos late in the match, as violence erupted outside the OAKA stadium. Police used teargas to disperse the fans but it made its way inside the stadium, affecting many involved in the match.
The game was temporarily stopped early on as fans made their way into the dugout, however the effects of the teargas was the final straw for the referee.
As a result, Olympiakos was awarded the win which keeps the title race alive.
It is the potential outcome for Panathinaikos though that has fans worried.
Points may be deducted – something that the Greens just simply cannot afford at this stage of the competition.
The club already came into the season on -6 points due to financial reasons and further deduction could bring the total this season to double figures – putting the club in an unnecessary relegation fight.
Panathinaikos are currently sitting in 7th position with a Europa League qualifying round place almost out of reach.
At this stage, they are nine points away from the relegation play-off and ten points away from automatic relegation to the second division.
The club has a proud history both in their domestic league and in European football. The situation they now find themselves in is not only disappointing but is a dark period in what was originally supposed to be a fresh and exciting start for the side.
Manager Giorgos Donis has utilised lots of exciting young Greek talent this season and looks to be building for the future.
Panathinaikos has been deducted points for poor fan behaviour multiple times in recent seasons, however this time it may be very costly.
Ten years ago, the club topped their Champions League group that featured teams such as Internazionale, while they also embarked on their 2009/10 treble winning season. Now, the Greens find themselves in a likely and unnecessary relegation fight.