Panathinaikos coach deal still not closed

Contradicting reports of recent days, Trond Sollied, coach of Belgian front runner Brugge, has denied being involved in negotiations with Panathinaikos. Local reports of the past few days have asserted that the Athens club, which terminated its contract with Czech coach Zdenek Scasny just days ago, held talks with Sollied in the Greek capital earlier this week. Some reports said Sollied, a Norwegian who has worked with Brugge since 2000, had already agreed on a deal until 2007. Not surprisingly, the conflicting reports have confused Belgian reporters and fans of the Belgian club, this season’s runaway leader in domestic competition. Though the Belgian press initially rejected the reports as groundless, some publications have now begun reporting that a genuine deal between Sollied and Panathinaikos could well be in the making. Panathinaikos has kept silent on the issue, but the lack of activity – over the past couple of days – in the club’s hunt for a new coach suggests that the issue may have already been settled. Reports said Panathinaikos was willing to offer Sollied fees of approximately 1.2 million euros per year. Should a deal proceed, the Greek club would also have to compensate Brugge for Sollied’s failure to honor his current contract. It expires in June, 2006. If Sollied is prepared to move to Panathinaikos, it could take some time before Brugge agrees to release him. But it remains unknown how long Panathinaikos would be prepared to wait. Besides the ongoing Greek league, in which the club has fallen to third place, seven points behind leader Olympiakos, Panathinaikos re-enters European club-level competition next week. After failing to make the Champions League’s second round, Panathinaikos was granted a third-round berth in the less prestigious UEFA Cup. The Athens club is scheduled to meet Spanish club Sevilla in the first leg. Prior to that elevated challenge, Panathinaikos plays Thessaloniki club Apollon Kalamaria this Saturday in domestic competition. Sollied began coaching in Norway in 1991 where he enjoyed considerable success with two clubs, Bodo/Glimt and Rosenborg. He then moved to Belgium in 1998 to coach KAA Gent for two years before switching to Brugge, where he has led the club to a league title and two cup triumphs. Veteran player Totis Fylakouris, who was a member of the club’s historic team that reached the European Cup final against Ajax at Wembley Stadium in 1971, will step in as interim coach for this weekend’s match. Fylakouris currently coaches the club’s youth team. Fylakouris’s task over the next few days will be to boost the morale of a team whose high hopes for this season have all but crumbled over the past few weeks. Already ousted from the Greek Cup – in the third round, last week, which spelled the end of Scasny’s brief four-month tenure with the club – Panathinaikos is now left with the challenge of gaining lost ground in the Greek league, and performing respectably in the UEFA Cup after its early Champions League exit.

Subscribe to our Newsletters

Enter your information below to receive our weekly newsletters with the latest insights, opinion pieces and current events straight to your inbox.

By signing up you are agreeing to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.