SPORTS

Court rules in favor of Super Sport, against AEK

The position of pay-TV channel Super Sport, currently locked in a legal dispute with rival station Alpha Digital over broadcasting rights to league leader AEK’s soccer games, was further bolstered yesterday after a court of first instance essentially repeated its stance that allows the station to continue televising AEK’s matches until a final verdict is reached. Alpha Digital and the AEK club, which broke a broadcasting agreement with Super Sport last summer and renegotiated with the rival station, had lodged a joint request for a temporary restricting order that would have allowed the two to do business together until the judges make their final decision. At present, Super Sport has exclusive rights to televise AEK’s games. Late last week, AEK’s «strongman» Makis Psomiadis, who runs the team without any official title, had said that he would neglect an earlier injunction handed to Super Sport, which, incidentally, is a subsidiary of the team’s former owner, NetMed Hellas. In the latest decision, the panel of three judges said that in their quest for the temporary restricting order, AEK and Alpha Digital had failed to provide any new elements in their case’s favor. «We are waging a marathon legal battle. Greece’s legal system has once again justified our positions,» said Lambis Tagmatarchis, NetMed Hellas’s president and managing director, following the case’s latest development. According to sources, the current climate is likely to prompt other clubs that had also switched to Alpha Digital to return to Super Sport. They include defending champion Olympiakos and last season’s Greek Cup winner PAOK. Reflecting the club’s most probable move over its broadcasting rights, Olympiakos owner Socrates Kokkalis made a rare television appearance this week on Super Sport. He agreed to be interviewed to clear the air of rumors concerning his interest in signing AEK’s coach Fernando Santos. On Wednesday, Santos, who has resurrected AEK from the dead on a limited transfer budget since joining the Greek team last summer, rethought an earlier resignation prompted by managerial interference with his duties after fans begged him to return and a series of working conditions he set were met by officials. Over the next few days, legal procedures by Super Sport against Alpha Digital for the broadcasting rights to the matches of several other clubs, namely PAOK, Panionios, Panachaiki, and Ethnikos Asteras, are expected to begin.