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Football | Europe

Panathinaikos © Action Images

Panathinaikos face action over comments



Panathinaikos are facing disciplinary action for making provocative public statements about referees, the Hellenic Football Federation (EPO) announced on Monday.

The Greens drew 2-2 with arch-rivals Olympiakos Pireaus in a pulsating Athens derby on Sunday but the build-up was marred by a Panathinaikos statement criticising the appointment of a referee questioned in connection with the 2011 Greek match-fixing scandal.

"[EPO Football prosecutor] Mr. Panagiotis Karras called for a disciplinary hearing for Panathinaikos FC due to the statement it made on December 7 which was published in many papers in wide circulation," said the EPO statement.

"With this announcement the club sought to publicly create a shock and clear innuendo against football institutions (referees and arbitration in general), which causes football supporters and the general public to feel contempt towards football, with the consequence of rejection on the part of the public at large to watch football games."

In the club statement of December 7, president Giannis Alafouzos, who has been critical of what he considers to be biased refereeing against Pananthinaikos this season, said the club was "battling inside and outside the stadiums against a toxic system that has infected Greek football".

Referee Stavros Mantolos was among 90 people questioned in an investigation into match-fixing last year.

A date for the hearing is yet to be set but it is expected to be next week with a fine the likely punishment.

Last week Panathinaikos vice-president Antonis Antoniadis accused Greek Super League referees of vilifying the club after controversial refereeing decisions during a 2-1 defeat by Platanias.

Panathinaikos lie seventh in the league standings, 16 points behind leaders Olympiakos.

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