Panathinaikos Braces Itself For Biggest Week In Its History
Panathinaikos is bracing itself for the biggest and most important week in the club’s 110 year existence as the deadline to submit all the relevant documents to obtain a license to participate in next season’s Championship is nearing ever so closer.
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The Greens have until the end of March to do this, otherwise the club will be relegated to the Football League for the first time in its history. It will be up to the EPO’s discretion as to whether or not the documentation submitted fits the criteria.
It is hard to fathom that a club which has played in a European Cup final and semi final, won countless honours domestically, and has a massive fan base around the globe, is in this situation but this is no time for sentiment.
Club administration has little time at its disposal to solve the myriad of financial problems, but time is of the essence and a plan highlighting the club’s viability long-term is sorely needed, along with all the relevant paperwork. It is also worth noting that the administrative departments are understaffed and those who remain at the club have been working tirelessly to find a way out.
The Trifylli has already received a ban from participating in Europe and the club did not put up a fight to have this overturned. Under this punishment, the Greens will miss out on the chance to play in any European competition the first time it qualifies in any of the next three seasons. The present case differs as Giannis Alafouzos and club administration are trying to come up with arrangements to remain in the top flight but it will not be easy as Alafouzos will only cover a portion of the debts, not the full amount.
Creditors are cautious in dealing with the club due to past experiences as management did not fully disclose all relevant information or did not honour prior agreements. Consequently, only a few have a willingness to compromise and most refuse agreements for a payback arrangement.
The impact of Panathinaikos’ possible relegation could not possibly be calculated. It would be much like AEK’s fall but on a larger scale due to the sheer size of the club. Television broadcast deals for the League would also suffer. Disaster would be an understatement.
Furthermore, there remains no successor to guide the struggling club in its “next days”. Only Dimitris Giannakopoulos has lodged a concrete offer but of course that hinges on Government approval. There is also an unknown group of Greek expatriates from the USA but the fact that the group is not known says it all.
In spite of all this, Alafouzos does not appear to be phased about the huge losses and blow to his reputation. He believes he can bear the losses. At this stage only one thing is certain, if nothing changes by the end of the month, Panathinaikos will not play in next season’s top flight.