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Panathinaikos fined for accusing officials of bias

(Reuters) - Panathinaikos Athens were fined 150,000 euros ($197,000) on Tuesday after club president Dimitris Giannakopoulos accused officials of showing bias towards Barcelona in a Euroleague game last week.

After Panathinaikos slumped to a 72-70 overtime defeat in the first game of their best-of-five quarter-final series last Wednesday, Giannakopoulos blamed officials for the defeat.

"The infractions concerned public statements made by Mr. Dimitris Giannakopoulos alleging a lack of impartiality by the Euroleague Basketball organization," the competition's ruling body said in a statement on Tuesday.

"The Independent Disciplinary Judge has considered that Mr. Dimitris Giannakopoulos disregarded the values of sport, good sportsmanship and respect for all persons involved in the competition.

"The judge has also noted the repeated commission of various infringements by Panathinaikos in spite of important fines and warnings.

"The judge stated that if such infractions are repeated in the future, he will seriously consider the possibility of imposing sanctions other than fines, such as permanent or temporary disqualification from the competition."

It was the second punishment in three days for six-time Euroleague winners Panathinaikos, who were also fined 9,000 euros for crowd trouble their fans caused during a top 16 home match against CSKA Moscow on April 4.

Panathinaikos, who won a dramatic but incident-free game two in Barcelona 66-65 to tie the series 1-1, entertain the Catalan side later on Tuesday and again on Thursday.

Two wins would steer either side to the May 10-12 Final Four in London's O2 Arena while the series will return to Barcelona for a decisive tie-breaker on April 25 if they are tied 2-2.

(Reporting by Zoran Milosavljevic in Belgrade; Editing by Pritha Sarkar)

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