SPORTS

Super League plan takes an important step forward

Judging by the latest developments, an important step has been taken toward the establishment of a Super League for Greek soccer, which planners hope will ultimately offer a slicker, better organized and higher-level competition. After failing to initially support a plan proposed by several teams, Thessaloniki club PAOK will back the proposal as long as it promotes the club’s interests, president Ioannis Goumenos contended yesterday. Neither PAOK, one of the country’s biggest clubs in terms of popularity and success, nor Olympiakos, one of the two biggest, had initially back the idea, but now both claim to be in favor. Olympiakos’s president, Socrates Kokkalis, emerged from a recent meeting with current front-runner Xanthi’s boss, Christos Panopoulos, saying that his team would support the Super League plan. Xanthi along with AEK and Panathinaikos have been the most solid supporters of the plan since its emergence. «PAOK never kept a distance from such a competition and initiative. We’re in favor of all moves made for the benefit of Greek soccer, as long as we’ve assessed and discussed the terms and with absolute transparency,» Panopoulos said yesterday. «We looked at PAOK’s interests and have assessed the proposals. We simply expressed a negative view, initially, because of the way procedures had gone ahead. Proposals first come in written format, we assess them and see if we agree. Why should PAOK not be a part of this? PAOK is in favor of Greek soccer’s well being,» he added. Besides AEK, Panathinaikos and Xanthi, the Super League plan also received early blessings from Apollon Kalamaria, Atromitos, Iraklis, Larissa, Levadiakos, OFI, and Panionios. Alexandros Lykourezos, president of EPAE, the association of professional Greek soccer clubs, and the federation chief, Vassilis Gagatsis, both say they are in favor of the Super League’s establishment. EPAE’s board has scheduled an extraordinary meeting for November 11.