The Panathinaikos club president Giannis Alafouzos has criticised the decision taken by the Greek football Association to name the referee Stavros Mantolos for the upcoming derby match against Olympiakos Pireaus.
This is one of the fiercest matches for the club and they are extremely disappointed at the decision to appoint a person, who has been recently investigated on accounts of match fixing, to referee the match. Stavros Mantolos was one of the 90 individuals who was questioned during the famous 2011 match fixing scandal in Greece. Alafouzos has been critical of the referee standards so far this season.
He has even accused the referees of being biased towards Panathinaikos. Hence, he certainly did not welcome the appointment of Mantolos to referee the match. The club are currently in the mid-table position in the Greek league. Their recent form has not been excellent, but they are still in with a chance to finish in the top five positions, which will guarantee them the possibility of taking part in the European competitions next season. Panathinaikos suffered a number of controversial decisions in the recent 2-1 defeat at the hands of Platanias. Immediately after the match, the club president questioned the biased nature of the referees. As a result of the defeat, Panathinaikos are 16 points behind the archrivals Olympiakos.
"Everyone knows that Mr Mantalos was investigated in the match-fixing case and the placement of such officials on the referees' list came about due to flawed procedures which were also controlled by the judiciary and this fact alone makes us suspicious of everyone. We ask for those responsible for the current state of Greek football to honour their legitimacy if they understand what that means. The club are battling inside and outside the stadiums against a toxic system that has infected Greek football," said Alafouzos.