PAOK is shut out of Europe

PAOK soccer club has been barred from taking part in European competition next season because it could not provide the necessary financial guarantees, the Hellenic Soccer Federation (EPO) said yesterday. EPO president Vassilis Gagatsis said that PAOK – one of the most popular clubs in Greece – had failed to provide a letter of guarantee to cover its debts of some 6 million euros, which would have allowed it to keep its place in the UEFA Cup. PAOK qualified for European competition by finishing sixth in the Greek league. Its place will now go to Atromitos Athens. Despite having a strong fan base, the Thessaloniki side has struggled financially. «Apart from being my team, PAOK is a historic club, which is where it is now because of mistakes by directors,» said Gagatsis. «I hope and believe that in the future… the philosophy of how the club should be run will change.»

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