By Antonis Stroggylakis & Aris Barkas/ firstname.lastname@example.org
Panathinaikos Athens owner Dimitris Giannakopoulos announced that the club is up for sale for a price of 25 million euros, during a press conference held Tuesday (9/6). Giannakopoulos also mentioned that he hopes that the club’s new management will decide to move the team from EuroLeague to the FIBA’s Basketball Champions League.
“From this moment and onward, Panathinaikos is for sale for 25 million euros, like I wrongly committed last year. We hadn’t taken into account the value of this brand. According to estimators, just the value of the commercial brand reached 75 million euros. I’m not changing a single word. 25 million,” Giannakopoulos said.
Prior to that, Giannakopoulos had opened the presser by stating that his family (Dimitris’ father Pavlos Giannakopoulos and uncle Thanasis Giannakopoulos mainly) has spent a sum of around 372.800 million euros from 1987 to 2012 for Panathinaikos. Ηe proceeded to criticized EuroLeague and CEO Jordi Bertomeu for what he considers a lack of sufficient answers regarding the revenues.
“EuroLeague has reached a point zero with an exclusive responsibility of Jordi Bertomeu. We have all realized that. It’s not something that only the bad boy Panathinaikos shouts. But who will shout? Clubs that live off state money and take loans? Or those who take money from football budgets? Financial Fair Play, Jordi says and moves his finger. It’s something to laugh at. EuroLeague is a black box. Teams don’t know what will happen with their money. They learn their revenues 15 days before the launch fo the season without knowing the “from where” and “why.”. In 2002 we threatened to not play in the Final in Bologna because Bertomeu wasn’t telling us the sums. Since 2009 everyone was talking about the revenues of the competition. But we suffered more than anyone else in fines and “slaughters” (ed. note: by the referees). Maccabi, Panathinaikos and Olympiacos sustain EuroLeague with half of their television rights money going to the League”.
After announcing that he’s selling Giannakopoulos refused to take any questions regarding the future of the basketball department of Panathinaikos since he said that he won’t longer be involved with it. The management, at least a new buyer appears, goes to longtime president Manos Papadopoulos and the general director of the club, Takis Triantopoulos. Giannakopoulos mentioned, though, that he’s hoping that the team will leave EuroLeague.
“I didn’t say that we are leaving and going to FIBA. I said that it’s a one-way road for me. We must examine all data. This will be ongoing. I hope that the decision will be to go to FIBA.”
The boss of Panathinaikos was asked about Jordi Bertomeu saying that he’s sure the “Greens” will stay in the competition. “Jordi Bertomeu says that PAO will stay in Euroleague. He is trembling in fear. You understand it means to have a EuroLeague without Panathinaikos. I hope that the people who will run the club disprove him [Bertomeu] and the abomination that is called EuroLeague will fall apart.”
Giannakopoulos later added that he sees the Basketball Champions League evolving into a dominant competition in Europe. “I see that FIBA works with a plan. In the last couple of years, they have made some joint ventures with NBA, Oceania, Asia. Watching the plan and the money they intend to invest and the longterm plan about basketball, I believe that very soon they will be the sole powerful competition in Europe.”
Panathinaikos, together with 10 other notable European powerhouses, signed a 10-year contract with EuroLeague in November 2015. This contract includes a 10-million opt-out clause if any club decides to leave EuroLeague during the 10-year duration. “There’s this clause,” Giannakopoulos said. “We signed the contracts. You remember the conditions. Maybe you aren’t aware that for one side there’s a 10-million clause and on the other, our legal department has concluded that we can claim money from EuroLeague. Then EuroLeague will owe Panathinaikos when the court proceedings are over.”