Giannakopoulos in discussions with government over Votanikos project
Dimitris Giannakopoulos’ target of making the Votanikos project a reality is still very much alive, with more information concerning the possibility of constructing a new stadium for Panathinaikos FC set to become clear after June’s elections.
As previously reported on AGONAsport, Panathinaikos BC owner Giannakopoulos has the goal of bringing the football, basketball and amateur departments of the club together, and the fiery 45-year-old is eager to take the club to the Votanikos region of Athens. In 2005, a plan was drawn up for Panathinaikos to play at a new stadium in Votanikos, but it is yet to come to fruition.
According to reports in the media, the cost of constructing the football arena would amount to around 60 million euros, while a fee of 20 million is needed to build the adjacent basketball stadium. Alpha Bank and Piraeus Bank, the two banks involved in the Votanikos project which also includes a shopping centre, have supposedly responded positively to Giannakopoulos’ proposal. In accordance with legal documents, the company which will build the shopping centre (Alpha Bank is in talks with American company Hines) also holds the responsibility of constructing the Panathinaikos amateur department facilities.
Deputy Greek Minister for Culture and Sport, Giorgos Vasiliadis, gave his take on the current state of play: “For two years now, we have been trying to find a solution for the new Panathinaikos stadium. We have collaborated with Dimitris Giannakopoulos, who is very passionate about this issue. I have a feeling that we are close to finding a solution which is worthy of Panathinaikos’ history.”
Giannakopoulos subsequently confirmed that he has engaged in negotiations with the Greek government: “At the moment, no signatures have fallen with the government, but I cannot deny that we have held very advanced discussions. It’s not something I wanted to make public, but I can’t say that this isn’t true. During the past three years, I’ve been trying to bring all Panathinaikos departments together. I proposed Athens Alive, but it didn’t happen. The second solution is now Votanikos.”
A lot will depend on the outcome of June’s elections in Greece which will, in effect, decide whether a new Panathinaikos complex for the football, basketball and amateur departments will be constructed at Votanikos.