SPORTS

‘Future is gloomy’ for Panathinaikos

Panathinaikos shareholders agreed on April 12 to reduce the club’s budget for next season, following disagreements among its members, and to aim at a share capital increase of 15 million euros in the coming weeks.

A stormy board meeting in Athens heard shareholders exchange views on how the multiple-owner model had failed in Panathinaikos’s case, with just one league title in three years and leaving the club several million euros in arrears.

“The future is gloomy. The problem is money,» said shareholder Thanassis Giannakopoulos, painting a picture of the season to come for Panathinaikos.

Acting president Dimitris Gontikas stated after the meeting that «the board agreed on a share capital increase of 15 million euros, but this certainly will not solve our problem, which is much more serious and will require moves that we will witness shortly.

“There is a very early deadline in early May and then the board will decide on future measures. We will know how much money will come in within two-and-a-half weeks,» Gontikas stated, implying that some expensive players may be sold.

Another shareholder, Adamantios Polemis, expressed fear that not all of the owners will take part in the capital increase, predicting that in the end only half of the 15 million will come in.

“We need to go backward. Too much money was spent simply because it was available. We have now inherited a very expensive roster which has not succeeded on the pitch.

“Next summer [2012] when several contracts expire there will be a total reorganization. The budget will have to be slashed. There is no intention of money pouring in as before,» explained Polemis.

A lot will depend on whether Panathinaikos clinches a spot in next season’s Champions League. If it does, then the worries about the 2011-12 season will ease, but getting there won?t be easy at all.

The Greens will need to finish top of the playoffs that start in May and then negotiate two qualifying rounds to make the profitable group stage of Europe’s top club competition.