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Four Panathinaikos players face punishment after defying boss decision to return to Athens per bus

Panathinaikos punished their players for a poor performance in the Euroleague playoffs by forcing them to return by coach bus to Athens from Istanbul Wednesday, a 12-hour ride, instead of a scheduled flight. Four players defied the decision and caught a plane to Greek capital. Now they will face a punishment.

The Greek club lost 79-61 to Fenerbahce on Tuesday, the Turkish team sweeping to 3-0 victory in the playoffs following two previous wins in Athens.

Panathinaikos boss Dimitris Giannakopoulos cancelled the scheduled Wednesday flight back to Athens from Istanbul and instead hired a coach for the 11-hour, 1097-kilometre (682-mile) return.

However, four players, Antonis Fotsis, Kenny Gabriel, Chris Singleton and Mike James, defied Giannakopoulos decision, went to the airport and bought tickets to Athens paying from their own pockets.

Although nothing has been officially announced by Panathinaikos, the action of the four players is perceived by many as the four have been isolated from the team.  It is considered as certain that there will be (new) punishment. According to Greek media information, they were already warned that a possible refusal to comply with Giannakopoulos  bus decision would create an even bigger problem.

The form of punishment will be decided at a meeting between Panathinaikos President and the team coach tomorrow Thursday. The decision will depends also on the specific contract of the four.

According to exclusive information of sports newspaper, there are thoughts to “terminate the contract of the four players” although the playofss for the Basket League begin in two weeks

Giannakopoulos had promised his players a bonus of 250,000 euros to be divided amongst them if they had reached the Final Four of the Euroleague.

“We were not worthy of qualifying for the Final Four. In a series the best team usually wins and Fenerbahce were better. They are worthy of congratulations. We have to do our self-criticism, get serious and take the Greek championship,” Giannakopoulos said.

Panathinaikos have advanced to the Final Four of the domestic championship.

The bus from Istanbul is expected to arrive in Athens early on Thursday morning.

Chris Singleton is already in the Greek capital, the other three rebels will catch a plane in Istanbul early Wednesday evening. reports of rumors that the 27-year-old Singleton is fed up with the situation and he plans to move over to Barcelona for the playoffs.

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  1. It reeks of a fascist mentality to me. I do not know what the players signed in their contracts, but punishing adults for failing to win a match by substituting a long trip for a short one seems to me to be a breach of anyone’s employment conditions. I would not accept it, why should anyone else accept it.

  2. And KTG: if you cannot see when people are making personal attacks, then drop the pretence of moderating the comments. We will just have unlimited personal insults again — and don’t complain.

    • keeptalkinggreece

      “KTG. Are you stupid?” posted by Guest(Xenos) 21/4/2017 – is this a personal attack?

  3. KTG: I do not understand what is wrong with you. It is very clear that people are making personal attacks on me, and you appear not to be bothered. I find this atttitude offensive — and you know why. I don’t expect favours to be returned, but I do expect not to be personally insulted by Nazi trash. If you cannot comprehend this, then perhaps you are stupid.

  4. Finally some common sense. Make this sore more palatable without hearing the words nazi, racist and golden toilet in every comment. Such a limited vocabulary and mind set

  5. This sounds like typical jealousy to me. The EGO trip billionaire Greek owner Giannakopoulos is sad he lost to his ex- manager, and to make it worse, by TURKS!

    So he’s just a mean spirited rich peasant that wants to punish his players.
    I agree with them refusing to take the bus, I would have booked myself a flight as well.
    And I would happily fight him in court if he tries to break my contract without paying me. I would also rather play for someone else than a rich peasant such as Giannakopoulos.