April 24, 2018 / 5:51 PM / a month ago

Soccer: Panathinaikos face ban if they qualify for Europe over next three seasons - UEFA

ATHENS (Reuters) - Former Greek champions Panathinaikos would face a ban if they qualified for a European competition in the next three seasons after failing to meet financial requirements, European soccer’s governing body UEFA said on Tuesday.

Panathinaikos, former European Cup finalists, have fallen on hard times in recent years. The club has undergone several changes of ownership structure and suffered dire financial problems.

UEFA said the club had been given a March 1 deadline to settle issues with creditors but had failed to do so.

“The Adjudicatory Chamber confirmed that Panathinaikos FC is excluded from participating in the next UEFA club competition for which it would otherwise qualify in the next three seasons,” UEFA said in a statement.

“The Adjudicatory Chamber also ordered that the amount of 100,000 euros ($122,350) as part of the total fine of 200,000 euros is no longer suspended and is due immediately.”

Panathinaikos are currently in 10th place in Greece's official Superleague standings www.superleaguegreece.net and have no hope of competing in Europe next season.

Panathinaikos were found in December to be in breach of the overdue payables requirement of UEFA’s club licensing and financial fair play regulations and were fined.

That fine was suspended, pending the March deadline.

The Greek championship has this season been tarnished by crowd violence involving several clubs and there have also been investigations by prosecutors into corruption.

Play was even suspended for weeks after PAOK club boss Ivan Savvidis stormed onto the pitch with a gun in his belt during a league game against AEK Athens last month.

World soccer’s governing body FIFA has threatened to exclude Greece from international competition and will discuss the state of Greek football in the coming weeks.

(This story has been corrected to make clear Panathinaikos would face a ban from the next UEFA club competition they qualified for over the next three seasons)

Reporting by Karolos Grohmann; Editing by Toby Davis and Ken Ferris

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