Zagorakis set for PAOK’s helm

Former Greece captain Thodoris Zagorakis, the man who led the national team to its astonishing Euro 2004 title, is preparing to lead a team of investors in a takeover of the financially troubled Thessaloniki soccer club PAOK. Latest reports said Zagorakis would assume his role as administrative chief at PAOK on Monday. The player, however, said he would remain on the board under the condition that certain club debts were written off by the state. Zagorakis has set July 19 as his deadline. Deputy Culture Minister Giorgos Orfanos, the country’s sports head, has apparently submitted a bid to the Finance and Development Ministry for debt-relief measures at PAOK. Besides its worrying financial situation, the Thessaloniki club, one of the country’s biggest and most historic, also needs to boost its level of performance. Last season, PAOK ended sixth in the Super League and failed to qualify for a UEFA Cup berth for the first time in quite a while. Zagorakis has spent the past couple of seasons playing with PAOK. It had remained unclear whether Zagorakis, 35, would retire from club-level competition after he ended his career with the national team earlier this year. But this latest development confirms his exit as a player. Zagorakis is believed to have begun assembling a team of investors. The process should end over the weekend before the club’s new administration files for legal registration on Monday. No details of the entrepreneurs have been disclosed. The club’s previous chief, Nikos Vezyrtzis, resigned from his post several days ago after serving for a year and a half. Zagorakis, who is renowned for his leadership skills, had made it known that he was contemplating retirement to focus on PAOK’s administration. One of the country’s most popular sporting personalities, Zagorakis generated major excitement among PAOK’s fans when he joined in 2005 after spending a season with Bologna in Italy’s top-tier league. Highlighting the level of respect felt for Zagorakis at PAOK, his arrival on an administrative level is expected to prompt a 50 percent boost in season ticket sales, from 8,000 last season to 12,000, club officials have forecast.

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.