Giannakopoulos Takeover Reports Resurface

Giannakopoulos Takeover Reports Resurface

Panathinaikos BC owner Dimitris Giannakopoulos is once again in the news, as fresh reports have linked him with a takeover of Panathinaikos FC. It was not long ago he was rumoured to be close to taking over from the hugely unpopular Giannis Alafouzos, only for negotiations to break down. Since last September, Alafouzos has also stepped down and Giannakopoulos has recently resumed talks.

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According to Livesport Daily and Vasilis Vergis, major developments are expected at Panathinaikos. The firebrand Panathinaikos BC owner not only wants the Football Club, but is also working closely with the Greek Government. It is believed Giannakopoulos and Alexis Tsipras have communicated via a third party.

Based on the subsequent discussions, it is thought Giannakopoulos has never been more keen to take Panathinaikos FC. He wants the club and OAKA - everything. Foreign funding is also being spoken about but the OAKA precinct will play a huge role in proceedings. It was known from last year’s talks that Giannakopoulos wanted to house the team at the Olympic Stadium. However, he has proposed a new project to the Government called “Athens Alive OAKA”. This project involves investing hundreds of millions of Euros and co-signing more than three foreign investments outside Giannakopoulos’ group.

The Deputy Minister of Sport was handed detailed information that documented impressive football and other sporting projects from around the world. “Athens Alive OAKA” consists of the construction of a new purpose-built football stadium (meaning that the current OAKA would not be used) and two new basketball courts. The project is so big that it also includes plans for a new luxury hotel to house sporting teams.

To top this off, the deal is expected to be wrapped up before Easter, highlighting how advanced and positive these new negotiations have been. Following that, Giannakopoulos will reach an agreement with Alafouzos to become the majority shareholder in Panathinaikos FC. Massive news for long-suffering Panathinaikos fans with Giannakopoulos himself claiming he will “resurrect” the Trifylli if he gets the stadium he wishes - OAKA.

This will no doubt have positive implications for Panathinaikos as a sporting entity as Giannakopoulos would oversee the football, basketball and amateur departments with a streamlined approach. On top of that, the 1.1 billion Euro project will create many jobs. It is believed the Government is happy with the talks and willing to help Panathinaikos write a new chapter in its illustrious history.

Moving forward from a fan’s perspective, patience will be key but cautious optimism is not a bad thing. Panathinaikos had had countless false dawns when it comes to new ownership but talks in this case are concrete and Giannakopoulos has the know-how to make this a success. His love for Panathinaikos has always been there for all to see.

In further Panathinaikos news, the current club administration is confident of securing a licence to compete in next season’s Greek Super League. This has been the club’s primary objective in recent days and President, Vasilis Konstantinou, believes the club will obtain the green light even though there are a few minor issues that need to be sorted. Confirmation of a licence is expected by the end of the month. Conversely, it is not looking good on the European front with the Greens set to serve their punishment for failing to meet the March 1 deadline for paying its existing obligations.

by Nick Tsambouniaris
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