The world basketball organization (
FIBA) said Thursday, on the eve of the world championship in Istanbul, that it has suspended Serbian and Greek players for brawling at a friendly in Athens last week, dpa reported.
Serbian team captain, centre Nenad Krstic was handed a three-match ban and a fine of 45,000 Swiss francs (44,000 dollars) for throwing a chair at Greek player in a bench-clearing brawl at the end of the Acropolis tournament on August 19, FIBA said on its site (www.fiba.com).
The team's leading star, guard Milos Teodosic will sit out two matches for starting the fight with Greek Antonis Fotsis, who also got a two-match suspension, as did his teammate Sofoklis Schortsanitis.
Basketball organizations of both countries were fined 20,000 francs each and the money used to support education programs for young basketball players.
"FIBA believes that the judgement will send a strong message to all players that their behaviour on and off the court must be exemplary and in line with the rules of basketball at all times," it said.
The suspensions will affect Serbia's roster in the first three matches at the world championship, which opens Saturday. The runner-up at the Euro last week plays Angola, Germany and Jordan, while former European champions Greece plays China and Puerto Rico.
The suspensions were not as harsh as officials and media speculated they could be and are not likely to scupper either teams' expectation of passage beyond the group stage.
Titleholders Spain and the United States are regarded as the main contenders to win the championship, which ends on September 12.