Cash infusion for soccer

Dutch-based firm NetMed, which controls pay-TV station Super Sport and digital satellite TV platform Nova, yesterday submitted a 20.47-million-euro broadcasting rights offer for coverage of cash-strapped Greek soccer’s first division in the new season. Many professional clubs have been struggling to survive since last September’s collapse of local pay-TV station Alpha Digital, whose broadcasting revenues were vital to team budgets. Yesterday’s bid, relatively modest compared to Alpha Digital’s derailed and overpriced deal by local soccer standards, nevertheless assures clubs of greater amounts than would other offers by local broadcasters. The offer also includes additional revenues for sales of highlights to other stations. The 20.47-million-euro offer applies to all but one of Greek soccer’s first division clubs, PAOK, which has already signed a separate deal with Alpha. According to the offer’s details, Olympiakos, winner of the country’s last seven league titles, a national record, would receive the greatest share, this being 2.7 million euros. Perennial rival Panathinaikos would rake in approximately 2.2 million euros, Skoda Xanthi 1.2 million, and at the lower end, newly promoted Halkidona would receive 725,000 euros. Thessaloniki club PAOK, which, in recent days, has lost several players over unpaid salary disputes, yesterday acquired an entirely new board, which brings with it 1.7 million euros in emergency funds. This infusion will allow PAOK to meet the financial criteria set by the Professional Sports Commission in order to participate in first division competition. Failure to meet the criteria would relegate the team to the fourth, amateur, division. PAOK’s new board will be headed by Yiannis Goumenos, with Giorgos Kalyvas and Vassilis Pagonis as his deputies. Kalyvas will also be the team’s representative at EPAE, the association of professional Greek soccer clubs. In his first public remarks as club deputy yesterday, Goumenos focused on star forward Yiannakis Okkas, a new player who absconded to AEK just days ago, and whom the official vowed to bring back to PAOK. «Okkas is PAOK’s property. We believe that we will win this dispute and Okkas will remain a PAOK player,» Goumenos said.

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