- The SuperLeague Rejects NOVA's Format Changes -
The broadcaster of the Greek SuperLeague, NOVA, has proposed drastic changes to the format of the Greek SuperLeague with the League rejecting the recommendations. The disagreement between the two sides has caused tension between NOVA and the SuperLeague.
NOVA, the official broadcaster of the Greek SuperLeague, has expressed their dissatisfaction with the current format of the league. This includes the number of teams (currently 16) and the playoff system, which currently consists of the teams that finished 2nd-5th place in the regular season. NOVA feels that the SuperLeague has little interest after the first half of the season, affecting TV ratings. According to NOVA, this is due to Olympiacos having a decisive lead at the top of the table season after season, while the fight to avoid relegation is contested by only a few teams.
With the hope of generating more interest in the SuperLeague, NOVA has been in talks with the League in regards to formatting changes. NOVA feels these changes (listed below) will increase the competitiveness in the League, maintain the interest of the fans until the end of the season, increase ticket sales (and merchandise) for every team, and create a more entertaining League that will attract more sponsors. However, the SuperLeague does not agree with the changes and disregarded the proposal on Tuesday.
The tension between the two sides is high after NOVA refused to broadcast the SuperLeague Draw that was held on Monday. Additionally, NOVA has threatened to not broadcast next year's SuperLeague if these changes are not made. According to Livesport, NOVA will break their contract with the League while keeping their contract with the 5-6 biggest teams in Greece.
Many teams have expressed their disapproval of decreasing the amount of teams in the league, while Olympiacos is against NOVA’s proposal of deciding the League Champion via the playoff system. PAOK, Panathinaikos, and AEK are all for the changes, specifically deciding the champion through the playoffs.
For now, the current format stands for the 2016-2017 season: The champion will be the first placed team at the end of the regular season; teams ranked 2nd-5th will play in the SuperLeague Playoffs for their place in next year’s UEFA Champions & Europa League; the two last placed teams will be relegated to the Greek Football League (2nd Division.
Nova has proposed the following changes to take place for the 2017-2018 Greek SuperLeague season:
- The Greek SuperLeague Champion to be decided in the post season playoffs rather than the regular season.
- Decrease the amount of teams to 14 for the 2017-2018 season and further decrease the amount of teams in the league to 12 for the 2018-2019 season. (The reasoning is that the difference in talent between the teams is very drastic).
- To conduct a “play out” which will consist of 4-6 teams at the bottom of the table to fight for safety and avoid relegation. The “play out” will be similar to the ‘Playoffs” with the teams competing in a mini-league (group stage) to avoid relegation.