Tuesday September 2, 2014 Search
Weather | Athens
29o C
23o C
News
Business
Comment
Life
Sports
Community
Survival Guide
Greek Edition
Money-challenged league boasts lowest average age

 Super League head Yiannis Moralis says Greek players to get more opportunities

The days of high-profile foreign players joining Greek clubs are over due to the economic crisis and a new era of relying on domestic talent is taking over which is a welcome change for Super League president Yiannis Moralis.

The majority of the country's top flight teams are facing severe hardship as the knock-on effects of the financial crisis have left them in a daily battle for survival.

Super League clubs have almost halved their spending on player contracts this season with even bigger clubs such as AEK Athens and PAOK Thessaloniki making huge cuts to stay afloat.

Champion Olympiakos Pireaus, despite being backed by the financial clout of shipping magnate Vangelis Marinakis, has reduced spending on player contracts by 21.7 percent this term.

Its outlay of 18 million euros still dwarfs the spending of other Greek clubs, however, with Panathinaikos the second biggest spenders on 8.8 million with Kerkyra on the tightest budget of just 600,000 euros.

The financial situation is so acute that only the combined intervention of the Super League and the Hellenic Football Federation (EPO) at the last moment helped to avoid the postponement of the start of the season on August 25.

Moralis has the unenviable task of helping to lead the clubs out of the toughest year the league has faced but while he knows the problems are severe he also believes there is a clear chance for home-grown players to take centre stage and thrive.

"The crisis has exacerbated the problems for all clubs but I am a firm believer that it has brought us opportunities and the basic and most interesting prospect for Greek soccer is that we can focus on financial stability and the development of Greek players, Moralis told Reuters in an interview.

"Certainly this is the most difficult year in the history of the Super League, but from our side we will continue to try to find the best solutions for all 16 teams.

Greek clubs have had to give younger players a chance, with the average age of Super League squads for the 2012/13 season at an all-time low of 23.9 years.

On the first weekend of the season, 66 percent of players were Greek compared with 50 percent last season, while there has been a 27 percent reduction in foreign players overall.

For the first time since 1990, a match featured teams made up entirely of Greek players as financially-embattled Panionios played Aris Thessaloniki in their opening fixture.

But although the clubs face acute financial problems, the national team continues to thrive at all levels.

Greece reached the Euro 2012 quarter-finals and the under-19s' appearance in the European Championship final, where they lost narrowly to Spain, shows the potential.

"The national team at every level is not only healthy but is absolutely competitive with other European countries, said Moralis.

"For such a small country with a population of only 11 million people, and with the economic and social problems we have faced, over the past decade Greece has achieved a lot. The Euro 2004 win, an appearance at the 2010 World Cup and the quarter-final place at Euro 2012 shows the talent is there."

Moralis said the days of overspending on high-profile foreign players like Rivaldo, Djibril Cisse, Gilberto Silva and Eidur Gudjohnsen are over which he welcomes.

"For 10 years the top flight teams have been spending beyond their means and I think the reduction of budgets as a start is an obligatory and correct response, he said.

"These kinds of transfers belong in the past and it is time for clubs to operate with a budget relative to their income. In the past we have seen clubs overspending on big names simply to keep fans happy.

"At this time we have to operate with an entirely different logic and supporters must get used to the fact that not now, and not perhaps for another five to eight years will we get close to the level of top European leagues.

"The country is going through such a serious crisis, not only in soccer and sport but in every aspect of daily life. Fans cannot expect to see those kinds of players in the Greek championship and for me it would also be a big mistake for owners to go down this road. We have to have patience, and take a look at the young Greek players coming through in order to ensure a positive future for the game."

Moralis is optimistic that the new financial reality means no teams will drop out of the Super league during the season.

"From here onwards the fate of the clubs is in their own hands, he said. It will be exceptionally difficult for some teams... and it worries us but we'll do our utmost to make sure that since we started with 16 teams we'll see 16 teams finish."

[Reuters]

ekathimerini.com , Sunday September 9, 2012 (19:40)  
Greek hoopsters go top of their group in World Cup
Fulham striker Mitroglou set to re-join Olympiakos
Tough draw for Greek sides in Europa League group stage
Greek judoka Iliadis triples up as Aguiar stuns Tcheumeo
Education minister calls for probe into predecessors reform plan
Following reports that a plan to reform the tertiary education sector launched in the spring of 2013 failed to lead to millions of euros in savings, Education Minister Andreas Loverdos on Mo...
Anti-racism bill goes back to Parliament
An anti-racism bill, foreseeing stiffer penalties for individuals and political parties that engage in racism or incite racist violence, is to be debated in Parliament on Tuesday following m...
Inside News
Tourism targets rise ever higher
The latest data have allowed the Hellenic Association of Tourism Enterprises (SETE) to raise its target for tourism arrivals and revenues this year higher still. During a meeting with main o...
Horse race betting hurdle removed for OPAP
The new tender for the concession of the right to organize and operate wagering on horse races in Greece for the next 20 years will include a number of changes in its terms, despite assuranc...
Inside Business
ANALYSIS
EUs three big problems all linked
The outgoing president of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy, said at the weekend that his successor, Donald Tusk, currently Polands prime minister, faces three big challenges: the sta...
COMMENTARY
A great president
I fully understand the countrys need for political stability, a necessity which makes the election of a president by the current Parliament absolutely imperative. At the same time, however,...
Inside Comment
SPONSORED LINK: FinanzNachrichten.de
SPONSORED LINK: BestPrice.gr
RECENT NEWS
1. Greek hoopsters go top of their group in World Cup
2. Tourism targets rise ever higher
3. Horse race betting hurdle removed for OPAP
4. Revised GDP data confirm that Greek growth is near
5. Measures to reduce unemployment
6. Peachy export data despite Russian embargo
more news
Today
This Week
1. Excavation work at Amphipolis reveals section of marble mosaic floor
2. A great president
3. Erdogan visits Turkish-occupied Cyprus
4. Greek economy shrinks at slowest pace since late 2008
5. Dont feed the zombies
6. Greek officials meet to fine tune strategy for Paris talks with troika
Today
This Week
1. Thessaloniki mayor Boutaris sworn in wearing yellow star amid Golden Dawn protests
2. The battle against progress
3. Attack on gay couple in Athens leaves one man needing surgery
4. Strong undersea quake occurs off island of Milos, felt in Athens
5. Greek quest for debt relief faces hurdles in Paris
6. Hardouvelis, ECB executive discuss bank program, stress tests
Find us ...
... on
Twitter
... on Facebook
About us  |  Subscriptions  |  Advertising  |  Contact us  |  Athens Plus  |  RSS  |   
Copyright 2014, H KAΘHMEPINH All Rights Reserved.