Panathinaikos asks to leave the Euroleague
Panathinaikos basketball club formally asked on Thursday to withdraw from the Euroleague, in a week of major turbulence for the Greek champion.
Two days after owner Dimitris Giannakopoulos said he is putting the club up for sale for 25 million euros, and that leaving the Euroleague to join FIBA’s Basketball Champions League is “a one-way street”, the Greens sent a letter to the organizers of Europe’s top club competition asking to end their contract and leave it.
In its letter the club said that “the presence of our team in the competition has not proven beneficial at all for us, while at the same time there has been no fruitful utilization nor increase of the revenues from Euroleague’s product.”
It therefore declared its intention to transfer its participation license and its stake in Euroleague Properties, asking for the organizers to see to it that the process is rapidly completed.
At a press conference on Tuesday Giannakopoulos had said he is leaving the club if a buyer emerges, also voicing his opposition to the City of Athens’ original plan for the construction of a sports center for Panathinaikos at Votanikos in exchange for the land of the Apostolos Nikolaidis soccer stadium at Ampelokipi, but without building a basketball stadium.
Then on Wednesday some 100 hardcore Panathinaikos supporters arrived at Giannakopoulos’ house in Athens and tried to crash in using stones and wooden sticks, only to be repelled by the private security staff of Giannakopoulos.
Panathinaikos is a six-time winner of the Euroleague, a Greek club record.