Olympiakos soccer club denies rumors of its sale

Officials at Olympiakos soccer club yesterday denied persistent rumors of the team’s possible takeover by a shipowner, Nikos Tsakos. Tsakos himself also claimed that no deal was being discussed. Olympiakos, one of the two most popular sides in the country and winner of the past six league titles, issued a statement noting that President Socrates Kokkalis had ruled out the rumors as false. The statement also claimed that outsiders had incited the sale rumors to create tension within the club. Tsakos, who has already ventured into the sporting world as majority shareholder of the Chios water polo club, said negotiations with Olympiakos had not taken place, and would not in the future. «I remain president of the Chios water polo club, I am not holding talks to purchase Olympiakos, and will not,» Tsakos said. However, despite the denials from both sides, insiders insist that talks have already taken place. Final decisions, they contend, will be delayed until the summer. In other developments at the club, a three-member committee was introduced yesterday to supervise the soccer division and report directly to the board. The initiative, the club said, was taken to relieve Vice President Giorgos Louvaris of some of the administrative burden. From his post, he has supervised all the club’s divisions. Others, however, suspect that the new committee’s real intention is to supervise Olympiakos’s recently appointed Slovenian coach, Srecko Katanec. Katanec is reportedly unhappy after Kokkalis rejected his proposals for player acquisitions as too expensive. Also, Katanec was not given the interpreter of his choice, while Kokkalis has expressed reservations over the coach’s one approved choice, compatriot Johnny Novak.

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