SPORTS

PAO wins license appeal, but PAS Giannina will play in Europe

Panathinaikos was among three clubs who have successfully appealed a decision to deny them a license to perform an unlimited number of transfers and represent the country in Europe next season, the Hellenic Football Federation (EPO) said in the early hours of Friday.

All 16 top flight clubs had their licenses reviewed by the EPO’s licensing committee and while eight teams were approved, the other eight – including Panathinaikos – had their initial submissions rejected seven days ago.

However, following an appeal hearing that lasted until late Thursday, Panathinaikos, PAS Giannina and Panthrakikos, secured the permit for the 2013/14 season.

“The appeal body of the Hellenic Football Federation’s Licensing Committee … has accepted and grants permission for all three clubs to participate competitively in the 2013-2014 season,» the national body said in a media statement.

OFI Crete still has an appeal pending, while Aris, Panionios and relegated AEK and Kerkyra will not appeal.

The eight clubs initially awarded licenses were Olympiakos Piraeus, PAOK, Asteras Tripolis, Veria, Xanthi, Atromitos, Levadiakos and Platanias.

The decision comes as a huge relief in particular to PAS Giannina, who hase qualified for Europe for the first time, and Panathinaikos, who endured a terrible season.

Panathinaikos went through four coaches last season and failed to qualify for Europe for the first time since 1997.

Last season was supposed to herald the start of an optimistic new chapter under fan ownership after the transfer of the Vardinoyiannis family’s majority shareholding to the new ‘Panathinaiki Alliance’ was completed last year.

But under president Yiannis Alafouzos the club has struggled financially and was forced to part with Greece internationals such as Costas Katsouranis, Loukas Vyntra, Nikos Spyropoulos and Lazaros Christodoulopoulos during the season.

[Reuters]