Panathinaikos told to find new home ground for European matches

Panathinaikos will need to find a new home ground for future Champions League matches after UEFA, soccer’s governing body in Europe, told the club yesterday that its Apostolos Nikolaidis Stadium in Athens was not up to standard. The Greek champions will be permitted to play their third and final Champions League group match at the field but must find another stadium for any subsequent matches in the competition. Panathinaikos, currently third in Group E, plays PSV Eindhoven at home on December 7 and, two days earlier, must notify UEFA of an alternative venue should the club proceed to the Champions League’s next round. The club, currently campaigning for state permission to build a new stadium at a controversial site in Goudi that has sparked both environmental and residential reactions, is likely to switch to the capital’s Olympic Stadium as a short-term solution. Panathinaikos has been based at the Apostolos Nikolaidis Stadium since 1924. It spent a 16-year period at the Olympic Stadium between 1984 and 2000, and moved back to its traditional base when the stadium was closed for renovations ahead of last summer’s Athens Olympics. AEK currently plays its home games at the stadium.