SPORTS

PAO kicks out Greece star Katsouranis

New Panathinaikos president Yiannis Alafouzos suddenly terminated the contract of skipper Costas Katsouranis on Wednesday, one day before the club?s home game with Tottenham for the Europa League.

Alafouzos told the club?s players on Wednesday morning that Katsouranis was history for the club that has ended his contract and would issue a statement about it later.

The decision comes as a shock to the team which was already short of experience in general and of options in the holding midfielders? positions. However, it might prove to be the kiss of life the team needs after a winless streak of six games in all competitions.

Alafouzos did not elaborate on the reasons for the Greece midfielder?s departure, but he probably did not need to.

In his first decision as the head of Panathinaikos, Alafouzos ? who has stubbornly defended battered coach Jesualdo Ferreira ? decided to let one of the most experienced players of the team go, probably on the grounds of his behavior on and off the pitch.

Katsouranis was halfway through serving a six-game ban in the league after swearing at the referee of the game with PAS Giannina.

He was also reported to have been divisive within the dressing room of Panathinaikos, with problems said to have started from at least a year and a half ago.

Alafouzos has repeated said on his Twitter account that he was angry with some of the players that seemed indifferent to the team?s problems.

The news translates into an extra problem for Ferreira, who had reportedly been counting on Katsouranis to fill the role of injured Jean-Paul Boumsong at the center of the defense for Thursday match against the Spurs.