Panathinaikos banned from Europe for three years by UEFA

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Panathinaikos players celebrate a goal against Athletic Bilbao in a Europa League match, last year. The Greek club has been banned from European competition for three years by UEFA for failing to pay their debts. (Reuters)
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The Panathinaikos side that played Ajax in the European Cup Final at Wembley, in 1971. The Athens club has a big pedigree in Europe but has been ruled out of European competition for three years. (Wikimedia Commons)
Updated 24 April 2018
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Panathinaikos banned from Europe for three years by UEFA

  • Panathinaikos players went on strike earlier this month over unpaid wages, and had also been hit with a three-point deduction by the Greek Super League over outstanding debts owed to former defender Jens Wemmer.
  • The 20-time Greek champions have a rich heritage in Europe, having lost the 1971 European Cup final to Ajax before semifinal defeats by Liverpool in 1985 and Ajax in 1996.

PARIS: Greek giants Panathinaikos have been banned from European competition for three years by UEFA for failing to pay their debts, European football’s governing body announced on Tuesday.
The club were handed a suspended sentence in December and given until March 1 to settle their unpaid bills, but failed to do so and have been fined €100,000 ($122,398), having also been ordered to pay the same amount in December.
They appeared unlikely to qualify for Europe next season anyway, though, sitting seventh in the Greek top flight.
Panathinaikos players went on strike earlier this month over unpaid wages, and had also been hit with a three-point deduction by the Greek Super League over outstanding debts owed to former defender Jens Wemmer.
Owner Yiannis Alafouzos agreed to sell the club to an Asian investment group on Saturday.
The 20-time Greek champions have a rich heritage in Europe, having lost the 1971 European Cup final to Ajax before semifinal defeats by Liverpool in 1985 and Ajax in 1996.
Earlier this season, they were beaten by Athletic Bilbao in the Europa League playoff round.
Greek football has been plagued by controversy this season, with several high-profile incidents.
PAOK president Ivan Savvidis was banned for three years last month after invading the pitch with a gun during a game against title rivals AEK Athens, while former Olympiakos coach Oscar Garcia was hit by a cashier’s roll thrown by a PAOK fan during a match in February.
The Spaniard later resigned after Olympiakos president Evangelos Marinakis fined and exiled first-team players over perceived bad results.


Ahmed Barman out to toast Al-Ain success in FIFA Club World Cup

Updated 11 December 2018
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Ahmed Barman out to toast Al-Ain success in FIFA Club World Cup

  • Tournament gets under way on Wednesday when Al-Ain take on Team Wellington at home.
  • UAE midfielder sure his side can cause a few shocks.

LONDON: While he is only too aware of the quality opposition they have to face, Al-Ain midfielder Ahmed Barman is backing “The Boss” to scare a few teams in the FIFA Club World Cup.
The tournament gets under way when the UAE outfit face Team Wellington on their home ground in the opener today. Last year saw fellow Arabian Gulf League side Al-Jazira reach the semifinal where they gave Real Madrid a huge fright before narrowly losing 2-1. And inspired by that march to the last four, Barman is looking for Al-Ain to go one better and become the first Emirati side to make the final.
“The FIFA Club World Cup is a global competition coveted by every club,” Barman said. “Al-Ahli, Al-Jazira and Al-Wahda participated in this tournament before and did their part, putting the UAE on the world map. We at Al-Ain hope to reach the semi-final, as Al-Jazira did, or do even better.”
Before any tournament it is only natural to dream of glory and lifting the trophy in front of adoring fans. But the midfielder is not getting too cocky, revealing that despite having home advantage Al-Ain are taking absolutely nothing for granted, starting with Wednesday’s clash against the Kiwis.
“There’s no doubt that we’re aiming to reach the final and face a giant like Real Madrid, but first we have to focus on our opening match against Team Wellington,” the 24-year-old said.
“We need to win to progress from this round and play the subsequent games until we reach the final against Real Madrid and show a standard of play the UAE can be proud of.”
Barman is not anticipating an easy opener.
“Team Wellington are a very good team with considerable ability. They won their local league and the OFC Champions League, which proves they’re powerful.
“So, all our focus is on this opening match. We’re annualizing our opponents to understand their capabilities as we prepare to perform well on the pitch and get positive result.”
The UAE champions did not have the best preparation for their stab at Club World Cup glory, losing 5-2 to Al-Wasl in the UAE President’s Cup at the weekend.
That result, while clearly not ideal, has not bothered the side’s coach.
“We cannot win every game, what is gone is gone, it’s full concentration on the match ahead,” Zoran Mamic said.
“There are no rules that Al-Ain cannot lose games, that’s why I don’t make any drama.”
But while Barman was keen to invoke the memory of Al-Jazira’s march to the last four, his boss was less so, telling his team to focus on the match at hand before getting ahead of themselves.
“We are not here to talk about last year, just as we are not here to talk about the future,” the Croatian said. “We are here to represent the club in the best possible way. We focus on the match at hand and everything will take care of itself.”
Of today’s opponents he added: “We have watched all their games, we know their strengths and where they are not so strong. They are particularly good offensively, they play with fast wingers and a striker who is a good scorer, they play a system that is unusual to us because no teams in the Emirates play with three in the last line. If we do our job we will (have) a good match.”