SPORTS

Volleyball coach drops Greece squad for PAO

National volleyball team coach Alekos Leonis quit his post suddenly on Thursday to take over at Panathinaikos. He has agreed to manage the Greens for the next two years, according to the federation. Leonis had only spent a year at Greece’s helm and managed to help the team advance to the European Championship finals to be held next year in Turkey. He will remain on Greece’s bench until the end of the ongoing European League, the Hellenic Volleyball Federation (EOPE) announced. After the first four games Greece has two wins out of four games in the competition. Panathinaikos had agreed terms last month with Italian coach Roberto Serniotti, but the Italian would not sign the contract that the cup-winners had presented him. Eventually on Tuesday Panathinaikos announced its offer was not valid anymore, while Serniotti protested he had not been given a warning or a deadline to sign the contract. Panathinaikos then turned to Leonis, who promptly accepted the offer, unlike the one that Olympiakos had submitted to him three months ago. At the time, Leonis had said he wanted to complete his work at the national team, but now he appears ready to abandon Greece for Panathinaikos. However, the statements he made last weekend in Zilina, Slovakia during the first round of the European League, regarding his poor communication with the federation and the fact he had been deprived of some of his first-choice players sent to participate in the military championship instead, may indicate he had already begun to change his mind about his post in the Greece set-up. Leonis made his name at champion Iraklis, winning two league titles and reaching the European Champions League final twice.