SPORTS

Panionios is left without leadership

Despite starting the season full of dreams for a spot in Europe, Panionios soccer club finds itself this morning without a proper coach, without a president, without a governing board and just five points shy of relegation. In a stormy meeting of the governing board on Wednesday, the club’s coach Takis Lemonis and Fanis Gallis, its president, suddenly tendered their resignations after a disagreement with the rest of the governing board. Lemonis reportedly resigned after his demand for the sacking of assistant coach Yiotis Stamatopoulos, who was hired by the club during the tenure of Lemonis’s predecessor, Ewald Lienen, was denied. Lemonis also asked that two officials, Chief Executive Officer Christophoros Mavropoulos and Giorgos Tselios, the sporting director, distance themselves from the team. The majority of the board rejected the proposals, forcing Lemonis’s resignation. Gallis, who had brought Lemonis to Panionios last month, promptly resigned from his post as well, with both resignations accepted by the rest of the board. There followed a vote for a new president, with Mavropoulos elected to the post. Stamatopoulos will now take over as the caretaker coach, probably until the end of 2008 and will be on the club’s bench in Sunday’s home match against Larissa. Then yesterday the entire governing board tendered their resignations at the request of main shareholder Constantinos Tsakiris, according to an official statement the club released late last night. A new board will be elected at the club’s general meeting on December 29. Reports suggested Tsakiris might even install his wife, Paola, as president. His other move would be the appointment of an Italian, an AC Milan veteran player who has been introduced by Panionios captain Lambros Choutos and who may take on a role at the club that has not yet been clarified.