SPORTS

Nearly half A1 basketball teams fail permit process

The financial crisis is taking its toll on the country’s basketball clubs, with six of the 14 first-division teams failing to obtain a license to compete this season. The Professional Sports Commission (EEA) announced yesterday it had only approved the applications of Panathinaikos, Olympiakos, PAOK, Kolossos Rhodes, Aris, Panionios, Kavala and Ikaros Kallitheas. As a result Maroussi, Panellinios, Ilisiakos, Peristeri, AEK and Iraklis, whose license applications were deemed incomplete, will have to submit new applications backed by more documents in order to get the license to play in the top flight, or face relegation to the A2 division. Maroussi and Panellinios, which finished third and fourth respectively last season, are facing particularly serious problems. This week they both saw their coaches leave amid financial concerns, and their future status remains uncertain. After Giorgos Bartzokas tendered his resignation from Maroussi on Tuesday, Ilias Zouros decided yesterday that he too had had enough, as Panellinios only has two players on its roster. In fact, the clash between the Panellinios basketball club and its amateur division, which owns its court, also means Panellinios may well relocate outside Athens for at least this season. Larissa is a likely option.