SPORTS

PAOK and Aris will likely escape relegation

paok-and-aris-will-likely-escape-relegation

Three historic basketball clubs, PAOK, Aris and Panionios appear to be spared relegation from the Basket League even though two of them would probably have to go down were it not for the coronavirus lockdown.

Basket League chief Vangelis Galatsopoulos told state broadcaster ERT on Sunday that the league will convene in the new week to decide on the fate of the 2019-2020 championship, but added he would not want to see any team get relegated as things stand, with the league suspended.

“You cannot condemn a team to relegation with six games left to play,” stated Galatsopoulos, saying he was not only expressing his personal opinion but also that of the league’s president.

The league stopped in mid-March with six rounds of games left to play and with Panionios and Aris on 12th and 13th position on 26 points, while PAOK was last with 25 points. The bottom two teams were supposed to get demoted to the A2 division.

Galatsopoulos also showed the league is in favor of the return of Olympiakos, that dropped out of the top flight in protest last season. It has fielded a development team in the A2 division.

“The return of Olympiakos is up to the club. It decided to leave last year,” reminded the league chief, before adding: “Everyone is in favor of its participation in the league, because the top flight is its natural position.”

He also painted a bleak financial picture of the 14 clubs making up Basket League: “Clubs estimate they will miss out on almost 50 percent of their annual revenues,” he said and revealed that “we will seek a three-year broadcasting rights contract with ERT, involving all 14 teams, in the context of the state’s support to all professional domains.”