State bailout for basketball

The government said yesterday it would enable ailing basketball clubs to participate in the Greek League championship by providing 5 million euros from the state TV budget and earnings from a new game, basketball pools. The clubs responded by deposing the president of the Hellenic Basketball Clubs Association (ESAKE), Manolis Papakaliatis, and appointing a committee to «renegotiate» their TV rights with state TV, ERT. Yesterday’s developments capped years of slow financial decline for Greek basketball. For the coming season, only four of the top division’s 14 teams – Panathinaikos, Olympiakos, AEK and PAOK – were guaranteed TV rights from a pay channel. Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos forced ERT to raise its TV rights offer to the 10 teams to a – still inadequate – 2.05 million euros and made the additional offer. This was not enough for the clubs, who moved to depose Papakaliatis. He, in turn, accused Olympiakos owner Socrates Kokkalis of orchestrating his demise.

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