Greek Super League

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Olympiakos’ Fortounis gets ban for obscene celebration

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ATHENS, Greece (AP) Olympiakos midfielder Kostas Fortounis has been handed a one-match ban in the Greek league as punishment for an obscene goal celebration during a game this month.

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Fortounis will miss this weekend’s match against OFI on the island of Crete after the penalty was announced Wednesday.

The 26-year-old Greece international mouthed obscenities toward opposing fans after scoring against AEK Athens on Oct. 7 during a 1-1 draw. He later apologized for the incident.

PAOK currently leads the Greek league standings with 16 points from six matches, level with Atromitos. AEK and Olympiakos follow with 13 points.

PAOK owner banned, team docked points for violence

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ATHENS, Greece (AP) The owner of Greek soccer club PAOK Thessaloniki was banned for three years on Thursday for his part in violence during a match against AEK Athens, including running onto the field with a holstered pistol on his hip.

PAOK owner Ivan Savvidis, a powerful Russian-Greek businessman, was also fined 100,000 euros ($123,000) by the Greek sports court.

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The club itself was docked three points for violence that interrupted recent matches against Olympiakos and AEK – incidents that triggered a two-week suspension of the league.

The ruling gives AEK a seven-point advantage over Olympiakos and sees PAOK drop to third place with five matches remaining – unless the decision is overturned on appeal.

Olympiakos has dominated the league for two decades, but AEK is now favored to win for the first time in 24 years.

In fallout from the incident, FIFA said on Thursday a panel it appointed last year to oversee the troubled national soccer federation recommended the federation be suspended immediately.

This season has been roiled by ongoing allegations of corruption and political interference. The government this week ended a 15-day suspension of the league saying it received a commitment from clubs to back reforms aimed at curbing violence.

However, in its letter revealed on Thursday, the FIFA committee said: “Regretfully … the monitoring committee is of the opinion that the current situation of Greek football with its repeated episodes of violence does not allow the (federation) to guarantee a smooth running of national competitions.

“The monitoring committee unanimously recommends an immediate suspension of the (federation) from FIFA membership.”

The federation said FIFA representatives attended a meeting of its executive board in Athens to brief them on their findings.

Federation chief Evangelos Grammenos said he was determined to hold clubs to their pledge to reform.

“The changes will take time,” Grammenos said.

Dunbar contributed from Geneva.

Panathinaikos beats Panetolikos 4-0 with late surge

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ATHENS, Greece (AP) Panathinaikos waited until the 67th minute for its first goal against Panetolikos before going on to win 4-0 Sunday in the Greek league.

Marcus Berg completed his hat trick in injury time – after scoring in the 67th and 80th minutes – with Robin Lod scoring in the 89th.

Fourth-placed Panathinaikos is a point behind PAOK – which drew 0-0 at Xanthi – and three behind Panionios, 1-0 winner at Veria on Saturday.

Olympiakos, which beat Larissa 2-0 Saturday, is 13 points ahead of Panionios and seemingly unstoppable in its quest for a 19th league title in 21 seasons.

In Sunday’s most exciting game, Giannena went 2-0 up on host Platanias by the 11th. Platanias equalized before halftime and went 3-2 ahead before Giannena made the final score 3-3.

Olympiacos striker Michael Olaitan collapses on pitch, listed as stable

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There was a terrifying moment in Sunday’s version of the Athens derby between Olympiacos and Panathinaikos when a player collapsed to the pitch and had to be taken off via stretcher.

Olympiacos striker Michael Olaitan was making a run away from the play when he lost consciousness and collapsed to the ground. He was tended to for several minutes, eventually regaining consciousness before being taken to the hospital.

The BBC reports that Olaitan’s condition is listed as stable. He has played for the Nigeria U-20 team and featured for Olympiacos in the UEFA Champions League clash against Manchester United last week.

The match was scoreless when Olaitan collapsed, but Panathinaikos went on to collect three goals in a shutout win. Olympiacos remains atop the Greek Super League table by 20 points over second-place PAOK Salonika.