Superleague and NOVA up in arms, Many issues before kick-off
On Thursday the SuperLeague draw took place and the schedule for the 2017/18 season was released. However, the SuperLeague and the official broadcaster of the Greek First Division, Nova, have multiple issues to resolve before the league can kick-off on August 19th.
As it stands now, other than the schedule and the match fixtures, nothing more has been decided for this season’s SuperLeague. Fans have been left wondering whether the league will start as scheduled, what will be the format, will there be playoffs, which channel will have the broadcasting rights and at what price, and how the league champion will be determined. This long list of uncertainties lies on the fact that the SuperLeague and Nova (official broadcaster of the SuperLeague) have many issues to resolve in just over a month.
Although the representatives of Nova and the SuperLeague have met in recent days, nothing has been accomplished. There are three main issues that currently separate the two sides. Firstly, the SuperLeague has accused Nova of deducting a total of €6.5 million from their previous contract. Although the SuperLeague was granted back €2.5 million through a court decision, they demand more to compensate for the losses. Nova, on the other hand, claim that the money deducted was listed in the contract terms.
Secondly, Nova’s suggested budget cuts were not accepted by the Superleague as Nova ask for an 18% reduction. The Superleague insisted on an 8% reduction, an amount not accepted by Nova, however the two sides are expected to agree at a 10-12% reduction in their upcoming meeting on Monday.
Finally, the biggest problem appears to be the new league’s format. Major changes to the league format were passed by the SuperLeague on March 29th, however second thoughts about those changes have now been brought to the table. In addition to reducing the number of teams in the league from 16 to 14, Nova insist on deciding the SuperLeague champion through the playoff system. Greece’s Big-4, Olympiacos, Panathinaikos, AEK, and PAOK, have proposed the cancellation of the SuperLeague playoffs for good, whereas smaller teams do not agree on a 14-team League.
Everything in the Greek First Division seems to have hit a dead end. The only way the above obstacles will be surpassed (especially the third issue) is to readjust the budget. Giorgos Vasileiadis, Nova, and other companies that have shown interest in obtaining the SuperLeague’s broadcasting rights demand the reduction in the number of teams participating in the League to 14, starting in the 2018/19 season. However, for the smaller teams to accept this change, a budget readjustment is demanded.
The Big-4 refuse to lose any additional revenue as they have already lost a big sum with Nova’s budget cuts. In the upcoming meetings that are to take place this week, the League’s smaller team will be told that a 14-team league will result in more commercial outcome and as a result, will eventually raise their overall revenue. Moreover, the league has decided to accept this year’s budget cuts, but will demand a raise in next season’s budget up to €40 million, making up for this season’s losses. This sum will also allow readjustments that will convince the smaller teams to vote for a 14-team league format.
More developments will take place Monday when meetings takes place between the SuperLeague’s Big-4 and Nova before Wednesday’s SuperLeague Board of Directors meeting. Many things need to be resolved if the league is expected to kick off on time.