Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Greek League : the nail in the coffin? (updated)

Things could go a whole lot worse before they remotely get better.

Things could get pretty nasty for the Greek A1 league. There is a possibility that one of the biggest sponsors in the league could back out and this could prove disastrous for quite a few teams.

Let's start by saying that things are really, really bad in the Greek League. The condition of the Greek League resembles remarkably the condition of the Greek economy, in other words it's in shambles. The people who run the League are simply lightweight and this can be proved by the recurring problems that appear each and every year in the League for the last decade or so. Teams are allowed to participate in the League without many of the necessary requirements and when you do it for one team you have to do it for every other team that fits, (or doesn't in this case) the bill. Nonetheless the vast majority of Greek teams are still owing a lot of money to players and some of them even reach as far back as season 2005-2006.

Then there are so many fronts in the 'Cold War' that has plagued the league between the people who run it, the players' union, the referees, the clubs themselves and last but certainly not least, the Greek Federation.

The latest problem comes from a big sponsorship from OPAP, the Greek betting company that enjoys(not for long) the market monopoly in sports betting. OPAP would offer the measly amount of 250,000 euros to each team that would bear their logo on the front their shirt. I use the word 'measly' lightly if we are to consider the millions that OPAP are offering to the Greek Football League.

Nonetheless there are some teams that are not happy with this league. Partially because they promised a larger amount and because they have their own agenda. The team that threatens to bring this about is one of the Greek powerhouses, one that has started its own private little war against the League not caring about the consequences. There are 2 more teams that could potentially follow through. One starved for money, and another one that could sure use the extra cash to establish themselves in Europe.

The problem here is that if even one of the teams backs out, then the deal with OPAP is over. This means that many teams could lose the 250,000 euros that they were hoping for. For some it's half or a third of their budget. And then you'll have more players leaving their teams, more player suing for money you might even get teams dropping from the league much like Olympia did last season.

(EDIT : I forgot to clarify one thing and that is that OPAP would back out of the sponsoring deal if another betting company were to sponsor a team in the Greek league. This is what the 3 other teams are considering at the moment as they could secure a sponsorship from another betting company that would surpass that of 250,000 euros. The betting market is opening in Greece and OPAP will soon lose its monopoly.)

Everybody is calling for reform but nobody's taking action. Obviously there are far more important problems in Greece at the moment and one might think that there isn't enough money in basketball for the government to care. But then again the people that call the shots in all areas of basketball seem to focus on fighting each other instead of uniting their forces to help the ailing league.

But as my friend says, at least we have a new logo!!

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