PAOK has not enjoyed its return to the top of the Super League on Monday as it is threatened with the ultimate punishment for allegedly bending ownership rules. The response by the Thessaloniki club and its fans was explosive.
PAOK and Xanthi are facing the threat of relegation, as the recommendation by the competent committee of the Professional Sports Commission on Monday found the two clubs shared common ownership, which Super League rules forbid.
The recommendation will be assessed by the Super League that will issue its verdict, and it remains unknown whether the views of the five members of the commission will match those of the league’s panel. However the mere possibility of PAOK being stained with such a development had the champion’s fans livid at Monday’s game against Volos, targeting Deputy Minister for Sport Lefteris Avgenakis in particular.
“Greece is split into two. Governments fall and ministers run. Avgenakis, you’re done”, read a long banner across the central terrace at Toumba Stadium, while chants cursed the minister, the Prime Minister and Athens in general…
After the match hundreds of PAOK fans staged a rally to the regional office of ruling party New Democracy in Thessaloniki.
The club issued a strongly worded statement that also turned against Avgenakis, claiming he has conspired with Olympiakos owner Vangelis Marinakis and asking PM Kyriakos Mitsotakis to replace him.
On the field PAOK made much less noise, beating Volos 1-0 through a penalty kick by Adelino Vieirinha on the hour mark. The result has placed PAOK on top of the table, one point ahead of Olympiakos.
In Monday’s other game Lamia drew 1-1 with 10-man Asteras Tripolis.