Panathinaikos accused Greece’s deputy sports minister Stavros Kontonis of strengthening “a corrupt system” on Tuesday after the government ordered the partial closure of the club’s stadium as a further punishment for crowd violence.
Kontonis’ ministry announced that Panathinaikos’ famous Gate 13 area of their Apostolos Nikolaidis stadium – occupied by around 5,000 of the club’s most fervent supporters – as well as nearby Gate 14, would be closed for the remainder of the regular season. The club was also fined 90,000 euros.
The decision was part of a state report on the crowd trouble which caused the Athens derby against Olympiakos Piraeus to be called off last November.
The Super League match was called off before kickoff due to crowd trouble inside and outside the stadium which resulted in three police officers being taken to hospital.
Panathinaikos had already been deducted three points, forfeited the match with a 0-3 scoreline, received a four-match supporter ban and been fined 190,000 euros by league authorities.
“The new punishment imposed by the deputy sports minister is unprecedented worldwide and is in fact predatory,” the club said in a statement.
“Unfortunately, Panathinaikos believed in last year’s statements from Mr Kontonis about restoring the credibility of the long-suffering football scene, but as it turns out, he is anything but interested in that, instead reinforcing the operations of the corrupt system.”
Panathinaikos added in the statement that the club would launch an appeal to “each and every competent body of the justice system in order to overturn this highly illegal decision”.
Panathinaikos is currently fourth in the Greek championship, 20 points adrift of leader and fierce rival Olympiakos after 18 matches.