The significance of obtaining a licence for Panathinaikos
Panathinaikos look to become more sustainable in the future and appear close to securing a licence to participate in next season’s edition of the Greek Super League without any dramas.
Fallen giants Panathinaikos had two main goals this season: avoiding relegation and surviving in an economic sense. Under Giorgos Donis, the team swiftly erased any relegation fears and moved up the ladder but has fallen short in its pursuit of fifth spot.
Off the field, the major issue surrounded the club’s ability to obtain a licence to participate in next season’s championship. By this time last year, the club failed to do so and as a result, started this season on -6. Technical director Nikos Dabizas also had to operate under heavy restrictions in the transfer market upon his return to the club.
Fast forward to a year later, and the licencing issue appears to have been sorted without any fuss. The club will submit its file to the Hellenic Football Federation (EPO) and both sides are optimistic the licence will be granted.
This is significant on several fronts, with survival being paramount. For a big club such as Panathinaikos it should be a right, but after last season’s issues it cannot be taken for granted. The Greens have never been relegated before and can now start next season on a level playing field.
All debts up until the 31st of December 2018 have been settled. Consequently, the overall debt has dropped which puts less of a strain on majority owner Giannis Alafouzos and makes the club a viable option for potential new investors.
Regaining credibility both within Greece and on the European front is also vital. The club had become synonymous with inconsistency and changing this will assist in luring quality foreigners to the Trifylli later down the track.
Furthermore, avoiding penalties such as last season’s -6 will aid in finishing higher up the ladder next season. The effect this six point deduction had on the squad in its attempt to return to the top five and claim a European spot cannot be underestimated.
Additionally, it will give Dabizas more freedom in the transfer market. As a result of last season’s inability to settle the debts, the club could only sign one foreigner over 23 years of age. Moving forward, there will still be restrictions as the club is not bankrolled by someone willing to throw big money around, but at least there will be more room to move and Dabizas will have a greater spread of players to target to help fire the team up the ladder.
The playing group can also turn up and give it their best knowing they will be paid. No footballer should ever have to worry about this, but this is something else that cannot be taken for granted after what happened last season when Alafouzos stopped investing in the club for a period of time. This means that the club will not owe any debts to current players in the future.
Alafouzos has lived up to his promises date to Donis and Dabizas and the financial situation will improve over time. It is also worth noting that Alafouzos has not been deterred from the events in the derby of Eternal Enemies, even though it set the club back.