Basketball World Cup: Greece call for officials to be banned after elimination


Greece are calling for the officials who oversaw their final game at the Basketball World Cup to be banned.

The Greeks needed to beat the Czech Republic by 12 points to reach the quarter-finals, but could only win 84-77 as Giannis Antetokounmpo fouled out.

The Milwaukee Bucks man, the NBA’s most valuable player in 2018-19, picked up a fifth foul in the fourth quarter.

“You cannot call these kinds of fouls on this kind of player,” said Greece coach Thanasis Skourtopoulos.

“He came every day to fight on the court, of course he did not get the respect he wants and I mean about the two fouls he received, the third and the fifth.

“I am sorry because we disappointed a lot of fans in Greece and fans who supported us here.”

A team spokesman confirmed to news agency Agence France-Presse that Greece were writing to the sport’s governing body FIBA, seeking a ban for the three referees in charge.

“Also (a ban) for those who nominate the referees and also watch the video and announce the results,” the spokesman added.

There has already been a controversy involving officials at the World Cup in China.

FIBA has said the three officials who made an error in the final seconds of Lithuania’s tournament-ending loss to France on Saturday would not officiate any more games.

With Lithuania trailing 76-75 with 30.8 seconds remaining, they should have received a point after ‘basket interference’ by a French player during a free-throw. However, the officials took no action at the time with the French winning 78-75.

The United States, winners at the last tournament in 2014, advanced into the quarter-finals with an 89-73 victory over Brazil to top Group K with five wins out of five.

Australia beat France 100-98 in another match on Monday, a victory that left them top of Group L with France advancing in second place.