Euroleague condemns 'cowardly, criminal attack' on taxi carrying referees

By Sports Desk February 23, 2020

Euroleague Basketball has strongly condemned a "cowardly, criminal attack" in Athens on a taxi carrying referees who took charge of the game between Panathinaikos and Barcelona.

Three referees and a referee coach were being transported to their hotel following Friday's match when the window of their taxi was smashed by two people. 

In a statement on Sunday, Euroleague warned it may consider moving future matches from Greece should another similar incident occur in the country.

"Following the conclusion of the Panathinaikos OPAP Athens-FC Barcelona game in Round 25 of the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague regular season in Athens, Greece, two individuals performed a cowardly, criminal attack, smashing a window of the taxi that was transporting the referees from OAKA to their hotel," read Euroleague's statement.

"Fortunately, all three referees, the referee coach and the taxi driver are OK," read the statement. "After the attack, Euroleague Basketball communicated directly with the Hellenic Police, who guaranteed the safety and security of the referees until they departed from Greece."

The statement continued: "Euroleague Basketball and all participating clubs condemn violent acts of any shape or form, and will continue to apply a zero-tolerance policy.

"Euroleague Basketball will support the police investigation into the attack. Should the two individuals be identified, they will be banned for life from attending any Euroleague Basketball game/event, without prejudice to any additional legal proceedings.

"Euroleague Basketball will seek the cooperation of the clubs and the local authorities to prevent any such incidents in the future.

"Whilst the attack is unprecedented in the 20-season history of Euroleague Basketball, should a similar incident occur again within the territory of Greece, this would signify that a safe and secure environment for the visiting teams, referees and all other accredited personnel cannot be guaranteed.

"Therefore, Euroleague Basketball will immediately evaluate relocating all further EuroLeague, EuroCup and U18 Tournament games outside of Greece."

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