ESAKE has crowned Panathinaikos champions of the 2019/2020 Basket League season, while no teams will suffer demotion to the second tier.
As a consequence of the coronavirus pandemic, the Basket League regular season was postponed in March, with Panathinaikos having been in first place of the standings with 18 victories and two defeats on the board.
On Thursday evening, following the completion of a crucial Board of Directors meeting, it was confirmed that the 2019/2020 campaign won’t be resumed with Panathinaikos officially being crowned champions.
Furthermore, it was determined that no team will be relegated to the Second Division, meaning that Aris and PAOK will remain in the Basket League for the 2020/2021 season. The two Thessaloniki giants were languishing in the last two positions when the championship was suspended.
ESAKE also stated that the leading two teams in the Second Division are eligible for promotion to the 2020/2021 Basket League. However, if they can’t afford to obtain a Basket League licence, they won’t be replaced by different clubs. The same rule will be applied in the event that a current Basket League side can’t afford to participate in the division next season.
Plenty of clubs are expected to endure severe financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 crisis.
Interestingly, AEK had proposed staging a Final Eight competition in order to determine a 2019/2020 Basket League champion, but their idea didn’t receive any support and was consequently cast aside. AEK, the Greek Cup winners, finished in second spot of the table with 16 wins and four losses in 20 games.
More discussions will be held next week concerning the 2020/2021 season. According to several reports, each Basket League team will be obliged to pay in the region of 200,000 euros in order to participate in the league, while the minimum stadium capacity must be no lower than 1,200.
2019/2020 Basket League standings at time of suspension:
by Shaun Nicolaides
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