SPORTS

Another coach bites the dust

Georgi Vasilev became the latest coach to part ways with his Super League club yesterday by quitting relegation-threatened Levadiakos seven games before the end of the 30-round season. The club has not made any announcements about a successor. Coaching changes have taken place at about half of the league’s 16 teams this season. The Bulgarian coach submitted his resignation following Levadiakos’s 3-0 defeat at home against OFI, which left the Viotia club just one point above the league’s three-team relegation zone. Apollon Kalamaria, which trails one place below and by one point, has a game in hand. Vasilev, who assumed the coaching job at Levadiakos last summer, spent a patchy time at the Greek club. He enjoyed his first few months on the bench as Levadiakos raked in enough points for the administration and fans to be content about the performance of a newly promoted team. Doubts began to set in last December, however, when the club garnered just two points from five games. Rumors at the time suggested that the club was looking for a new coach, but some improvement from the team, which produced two consecutive home victories, lifted it from the relegation zone. Vasilev’s comments at last Sunday’s post-game news conference hinted that he would go. «At this point, I see that the team can achieve its objective of remaining [in the top-tier league] if I resign. I think it is not going to happen with me at the helm. Something had to change at the team right now,» admitted Vasilev in a statement posted on the club’s website. «I leave with best possible ties intact with the president and the club’s administration in general. From the bottom of my heart, I offer my wishes to everyone in the club and hope it achieves its objective, which is to remain in the Super League.» However, the 61-year-old Vasilev appeared more upset on Bulgarian radio. «I’ve decided to quit because I think Levadiakos is a club with very limited potential,» he told Darik radio. «I think people who are better acquainted with Greek soccer will do a better job until the end of the season.» Former Kerkyra coach Babis Tennes, who attended Levadiakos’s weekend loss, is being linked to the team’s vacant coaching position. Meanwhile, in other Super League news, Thessaloniki team Iraklis, one of the country’s bigger clubs currently threatened by relegation, issued a statement claiming that some people are «targeting» the team with the aim of ousting it from the top-level league. The statement was released after an injury-time penalty, which appeared doubtful, was awarded against Iraklis at Larissa on Sunday, leading to a 1-0 loss and deeper relegation woes for the Thessaloniki team. Video replays did not show an infringement by the Iraklis defense. Team players vehemently disputed the decision. Front-runner Panathinaikos also issued a statement condemning the refereeing in its weekend game against crosstown Athens rival AEK, which ended 1-1. AEK had gone ahead with a disputed penalty.