By Aris Barkas/ email@example.com
With longtime president and former secretary-general Giorgos Vasilakopoulos stepping down from the Greek basketball federation, former Promitheas Patras president Vaggelis Liolios got elected.
It’s was a bumpy ride as the elections were postponed three times due to COVID and bureaucratic irregularities, while the 82-years old Vasilakopoulos was practically forced to leave his position and was not able to run again for president, due to the age limit of the new Greek sports law.
Liolios got 335 votes and beat Greek basketball legend Panagiotis Fasoulas (180 votes), who gets to be part of the federation council. Aggelos Papanikolaou, a third presidential candidate who was considered a continuation of Vasilakopoulos’ regime got just 90 votes and missed the limit of representation in the council.
In total, Liolios and his candidates got the majority of 14 seats in the council with former national team player Dimos Dikoudis being also elected, as also the pioneer of women’s basketball in Greece Anny Konstantinidou, nicknamed “female Galis”. Former national team players Eythimis Rentzias and Fanis Christodoulou were supporting Fasoulas and also got elected.
However, Liolios’ election can prove to be a turning point not only for Greece but also for European basketball. As the former president of Promitheas, Liolios picked the side of the Euroleague, as his former club has a three-year EuroCup license and now he is practically representing FIBA in Greece. He is the only such example in Europe and even his election signifies the need for the two sides to find a compromise and work together for the good of basketball.
A doctor, businessman, and avid fan of basketball, Liolios is credited with the transformation of Promitheas Patras from a club that competed in the local Greek divisions to a team that is competitive against the local powerhouses of Olympiacos and Panathinaikos. More ever, the club has established its presence in European competitions and has arguably one of the best youth programs in Europe.