SPORTS

Crisis trims Greek clubs in Europe

Greece is left with just one representative in next season?s Champions League and one in the CEV Cup, due to Greek volleyball?s financial woes.

Champion and cup-winner Olympiakos decided on May 11 to withdraw from the Champions League, opting instead to represent Greece in the third-tier Challenge Cup, which is not as financially demanding.

Panathinaikos and PAOK withdrew from the CEV Cup and EA Patras from the Challenge Cup; Lamia leapt at the opportunity and announced on May 12 that it would be taking Greece?s spot in the CEV Cup, although it had originally qualified only for the Balkan Cup.

In a statement Panathinaikos issued on May 11, the club suggested that ?it is with a sense of responsibility and with pain in our heart that we have decided against taking part in next season?s CEV Cup in order to save money to cover previous years? debts and to form a team as competitive as possible for the coming season.?

EAP president Manolis Rogdakis stated that his club could see no point in participating in European competitions under the current circumstances, suggesting that ?clubs bear all the costs and do not get the support they deserve from the state.?

The federation is also in serious financial trouble, to the extent that it announced to its employees on May 7 that it could not pay their wages.

Olympiakos is also considering moving to the Drapetsona court in western Piraeus, leaving Rendi, which is more expensive. It is also going to try to hold on to coach Yiannis Kalmazidis.

Iraklis is therefore Greece?s sole remaining representative in the Champions League, and it has agreed on a deal with Greece assistant coach Sotiris Drikos to manage the team in the new season.