Super League clubs face uncertain future with licensing issues
With a summer of uncertainty approaching, plenty of Super League clubs are still fretting over obtaining a licence for the upcoming 2018/2019 campaign in Greece’s top flight.
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As already mentioned on AGONAsport, struggling Athenian giants Panathinaikos are on the verge of being relegated due to their financial problems and lack of licence, but the Greens aren’t the only ones running a serious risk of missing out on Super League football next season.
Alongside Panathinaikos, it’s been reported that Atromitos Athens, Xanthi, Panetolikos, PAS Lamia and Apollon Smyrnis are yet to seal a broadcasting contract for the 2018/2019 Super League and are worrying about their future in the championship. AOK Kerkyra and Platanias also don’t have a television deal, but both of the clubs are already guaranteed to be relegated to the Football League.
On Thursday, the Super League’s Board of Directors will discuss the possibility of changing the relegation penalty for clubs without a league licence, after Panathinaikos, Atromitos, PAS Lamia, AEK, Levadiakos and Apollon Smyrnis all made a proposal to scrap the punishment. As this is the last chance to make any amendments to the regulations in place, the outcome will have a huge bearing on the future of clubs yet to acquire broadcasting contracts or Super League licences.
In the event that certain clubs are forced to depart the Super League as a result of not obtaining a licence, teams from the Football League must automatically be promoted to replace them. Panachaiki, a club from the Patras region, occupy third place of the standings in the Greek second tier and would be eligible for being catapulted into the Super League. Below them sit AO Chania Kissamikos, Doxa Dramas and Trikala. Teams lower than sixth position in the Football League will not be granted promotion under any circumstances.
Taking into account what happened with Iraklis Thessaloniki, it’s perfectly reasonable to expect clubs to be relegated because of not owning a Super League licence, with Football League teams such as Panachaiki, AO Chania Kissamikos, Doxa Dramas and Trikala replacing them. Recently, OFI and Aris earned direct promotion to the 2018/2019 Super League.