SPORTS

Vardinoyiannis to concede PAO stake for free

Panathinaikos major shareholder Yiannis Vardinoyiannis announced on September 5 he is ready to concede his 54.7 percent stake in the club for free to anyone interested, showing for the fourth time since 2008 he and his family’s intention to depart from the Athens club.

“There is no chance you will see us again at Panathinaikos. Forget about us,» stressed the former car rally champion, insisting his family is putting an end to its tenure at the club that has lasted for 32 years. He spoke for an hour-and-a-half at a press conference, revealing that a lawyer will now handle his stake.

“There is no price for our shares. The price is zero. If a company comes, a genuine one, then the sale can go ahead. If an offshore company were to come, the Professional Sports Commission would stop it, even if I wanted to give away my stake for free.»

Vardinoyiannis has been on the receiving end of severe criticism for his inertia over the last few months, as he had insisted that although he holds a stake of over 50 percent, he would act as the owner of just 30 percent, aiming to concede the rest to anyone interested.

No one has come forward to take the stake he has put up for grabs, leaving the club in limbo — which has now resulted in the team’s early departure from European competition as it has been unable to meet the financial demands of that level.

It is rather unlikely that anyone will come forward now, but Vardinoyiannis refused to rule it out, despite the tough economic juncture.

He also said that the 2004 double was won fair and square, hinting that the 2010 double, when Nikolas Pateras was president of the club, may have not been crystal-clear, and added that «in 2005 I could have won the title by protecting the team, but that would have meant paying for it. I preferred to lose the 2005 league title than win a fake one.»

He also went on to thank the people he cooperated with at Panathinaikos, singling out two players as well, veteran central defender Yiannis Goumas and current right-back Loukas Vintra.

There has been a mixed reaction to the Vardinoyiannis withdrawal from Panathinaikos, with shareholders Adamantios Polemis and Andreas Vgenopoulos sending messages through the press that they might be interested in acquiring the stake that is now up for grabs.