Three Super League formats to be discussed, Changes coming to the Cup
There are three proposals on the table regarding next year’s Super League format while the Cup could move to a knockout format, without group stages, and a two-legged final. Meanwhile, Iraklis released a statement asking for the Super League 2’s increase to 14 teams.
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Three Super League format options on the table
On Wednesday, the special Super League committee dealt with the task to come up with format ideas for the new 14-team Super League will meet to discuss more ideas. This committee is made up of representatives from PAOK, Olympiacos, AEK, Panathinaikos, Atromitos, and Asteras Tripolis.
According to Live Sport, there are three formats being discussed, two of which include playoffs to decide the champion, European places, and relegation. The other format includes a third round of fixtures to be held in between the first and second round of games.
The first scenario includes a regular season with 26 games for each club, home and away matches against each team, followed by playoffs separated into two groups. The first group would consist of teams ranked 1st-6th and will decide the Super League champion and the European places for next season. The second group, a playout group, will consist of teams ranked 7th-14th with the bottom two teams suffering relegation to the Super League 2.
The second scenario includes a regular season with 26 games for each club, home and away matches against each team, followed by playoffs separated into three groups. The first group would consist of teams ranked 1st-4th and will decide the Super League champion and the European places for next season. The second group will consist of teams ranked 5th-8th and will decide the final European spot for next season (assuming the Cup champion has assured a place in Europe via their Super League finish). The third and final group will consist of the teams ranked 9th-14th with the bottom two teams relegated to the Super League 2.
The third scenario was Minas Lysandrou’s (current Super League president) original idea of holding a third round of fixtures in between the first and second round of the regular season. This third round would take place in December and January with teams separated into two groups of seven based on their first round standings. Most teams have reacted negatively to this proposal and will likely not be passed or discussed further.
According to the same report, only PAOK are opposed to playoffs where the champion will be decided. The Dikefalos tou Vorra would rather have the Super League champion crowned in the regular season of 26 games as opposed to the playoffs.
Both Novasports and ERT, the Super League’s broadcasting companies, are for the playoff and playout formats proposed as this would add more games to the season and draw more interest from fans if the champion is decided via the playoff route. This in return would bring in more revenue to both Nova and ERT. Neither company will settle with a 26-game season, which would be the case if the current Super League format is kept (16 teams this season compared to 14 teams next season).
Livesport’s report also mentioned that the 2019/20 Super League season is expected to start on the weekend of August 24th. Teams were asked if they would rather have the league start a week before on August 17th, however most were pro an August 24th start date, the third weekend of the month. However, the teams that will compete in Europe next season (PAOK, Olympiacos, AEK, Atromitos, and Aris), will have more of a say in the final decision regarding the league’s start date.
Cup format changes to be discussed on Wednesday
In Wednesday’s Hellenic Football Federation (EPO) meeting, changes to the Greek Cup format will be discussed. Two major changes include a two-legged final as opposed to a single game final and the removal of the group stages, currently held during the second round of the competition.
Before the group stage format was implemented some years ago, a single and two-legged knockout format was held up until the final, which allowed for more surprises and attraction to the competition. The federation will look to restructure the competition’s format to its previous form, with knockout matches throughout its entirety, either with a single or double-legged format. The federation’s hope is that more surprises will take place in the competition, similar to Lamia’s run in this year’s edition, and as a result, drawing more interest from fans.
If the changes are passed, teams from the lower divisions, including the Football League and Super League 2, will likely compete in the opening rounds of the competition and teams from the Super League will be given a bye to the later rounds (likely the round of 32).
The Cup will begin in August and run through May, making the competition more of an attractive option for possible TV broadcasters. Currently, Novasports, Cosmote Sports, and OPEN TV have all expressed interest in acquiring TV rights to the competition. Cosmote Sports currently hold the Cup’s TV rights.
Iraklis ask Super League 2 to increase to 14 teams
Iraklis released a statement asking for the increase of teams in next year’s Super League 2 from 12 to 14. With the restructuring of Greece’s football leagues, it was decided that the newly formed Super League 2, the Greek second division, will consist of 12 teams while both the first division, Super League, and third division, Football League, will consist of 14 teams.
As a result of their 11th placed finish in this year’s Football League (the second division), Iraklis were forced to remain in the Football League for next season, however the Football League will be classified as the new third tier of Greek Football (essentially relegation for Iraklis). Thus, the Thessalonikis have requested the Super League 2 be increased to 14 teams, with Iraklis and Trikala, the 2018/19 Football League’s 12th placed team, be granted participation in the 2019/20 Super League 2.
Talks have been held regarding the Super League 2’s increase to 14 teams and more developments are expected in the coming weeks.