Olympiacos left headless as Angelopoulos family quits (vids+pics)

In a rather unexpected turn of events the Angelopoulos family have decided to quit Olympiacos BC and Greek basketball alltogether. Read their announcement and TalkBasket’s analysis of Olympiacos future.

The official statement is as follows: {jathumbnail off}

Our involvement with Olympiacos BC was based purely on our love for the club and basketball, without expecting any kind of financial or other return.

We decided to finance Olympiacos in 2004 without any considerations and in 2006 we took over the team’s management while we became the major shareholde3rs of Olympiacos BC in 2009.

We have managed to achieve some things for which we are proud:

– Olympiacos became a respectable name in basketball, inside and outside Greece.

– We invested in top players and the best coaches and the team became competitive after many years and widely considered as an elite team in Europe.

– The team made two back to back Final Fours after many years and the Euroleague final after 13 years. The team also managed to win a record number of A1 games in 2009 and 2011, including an unbeaten regular season, and won 2 Greek Cups.

– Olympiacos BC has paid the Greek government $50.000.000 in taxes. We wonder if there is another club who has paid so much i the last years.

All these years we have chosen to follow a specific path, a path very different than the one our opponents are used to.

– It is our conscious choice not to get involvement with the backstage which controls and influences situations, teams and leagues. We didn’t want to and didn’t do it. Success which comes from mechanisation and favouritism by the refs is not a success. Period.

– It is our conscious choice that our involvement in official bodies of the sport (State, EOK*, KED*, ESAKE*) is direct and official.

– It is our conscious choice not to finance and support “coloured” press or influence any other media but to keep our relationship with reporters on a strictly professional level, without any constraints and dependencies.

– It is our conscious choice that our relationship with Olympiacos fans to stay on healthy levels and based on mutual respect.

– It is our conscious choice to fight against violence, with what means we have, no matter where it comes from.  We managed to do so this year, with the help of our fans.

For yet another season the refereeing decisions and the well known mechanisations determined the champion. Where can one begin and end when speaking of Greek refereeing? Not only those, who have repeatedly and blatantly wronged Olympiacos, remain unpunished but, on the contrary, they get defiantly rewarded and promoted. So how could they not have the audacity to achieve world record phenomena, such as the 18 free throws against 2 in the second quarter of the second final, when Olympiacos was leading by 10!

The last final of the season, was played under circumstances which did not justify the tip-off of the game: poor safety measures, illegal entrance of thousands of fans in the are without a ticket, abolition of buffer zones, presence of hooded persons and muscle behind the benches and the secretary. table, on public view on national TV, with the tolerance of Police. The highlight was the cowardly unprecedented criminal attack on our team’s players and coaches.

We do not shift our responsibilities on third parties. We have never done so and will never do so. We have definitely made mistakes on the process. We have received criticism many times. Constructive, even when harsh, never annoyed us. As for the unethical attacks against us, there is only one path for them, the path of justice.

This is our philosophy, which we obey to, and we are proud that during our involvement with Olympiacos we have never made deductions on our values.

During our course we demanded the obvious, legality, isonomy and transparency. We have made public interventions, submitting concrete proposals.

All these years we have been fighting against the “system”, which stubbornly fights back, constantly undermining our efforts to gain what our team and our fans deserve.

Based on all the aforementioned, and having run out of options which comply with ethic, law and reason, we leave Olympiacos and Greek Basketball in disgust, with a pain of heart.

We thank everyone who have believed in us, stood by us and fought with us.

PANAGIOTIS K. ANGELOPOULOS    GIORGOS K. ANGELOPOULOS

TalkBasket analysis:

From watching Olympiacos BC glory days during mid 90s as simple fans and traveling to Tel Aviv and Rome Final Fours as youngsters the Panagiotis and Giorgos Angelopoulos brothers were determined to make their mark in Olympiacos and basketball history. Sadly, after seven years of involvement in basketball, splashing out hundreds of millions of euros on the finest players in the market and having to show only two Greek Cups for their efforts the Angelopoulos family decided to call it a day, showing some of the most characteristic attributes of a Greek psyche, that of easy excitement and even easier disappointment.  It seems that the Greek financial and ethical demise has spilled over at basketball (too).

Their decision to quit Olympiacos and basketball leave an enormous power vacuum at the club, and the Greek basketball in general. First information say that Olympiacos Amateur Athletics Club will take over the shares and management of the team, until a new owner is found. Of course as every single Amateur Club in Greece they are pretty much broke (they can’t even pay their water polo and volleyball clubs which they manage).

Given the dire situation of Greek economy and market and the general public consensus that sports in Greece is a cesspool, it could be a while for another sports-crazy Greek tycoon to take over the club. Add to that the minor role of basketball in Greece and the fact that Olympiacos has a year budget of around 25.000.000 euros and income of about 7.000.000 euros and you can see the greater, black, picture.

Of course there will be a drastic reduce of budget and many, if not all, star players will leave while it’s still unknown what will coach Dusan Ivkovic do. For what it’s worth, Olympiacos got rid a lot of big contracts this summer, including the ones of Papaloukas, Halperin and Bourousis in the upcoming days.

Of course there still remain some mammoth contracts such as the Spanoulis one, which is costing the club around 4.500.000 per season, including the taxes. Under the new management the club won’t be able to afford such player and his agent is already negotiating his transfer to Efes Pilsen. There are more players who will leave as Bilbao is interested in Erceg, Valenca in Nielsen and Barcelona and Real Madrid in Teodosic.

According to In-The-Game the players who are tied with a contract for next (or more) season, without any sort of buy-outs, release clauses etc are Erceg, Keselj, Katsivelis, Giannopoulos, Papanikolaou, Sloukas, Spanoulis, Teodosic and Vasilopoulos. Olympiacos and Euroleague fans should brace themselves for a possible low budget young and Greek squad for the next season.

A sign of things to come is that Olympiacos players are unpaid for the past four and half months and their agents were getting restless even before the shock announcement of Angelopoulos family.

Given this and the fact that the Giannakopoulos family have also put Panathinaikos up for sale Greek basketball fans are in for poverty days, similar to those of early 2000s. Greek major clubs entering some existing, or new, regional multinational league could be imminent. At least Panathinaikos owners have guaranteed not to let the team headless and will only sell to a suitable bidder.

Let’s remember some of the Angelopoulos brothers, who will be surely missed, best moments.

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* Greek Basketball Federation

** Refereeing Central Committee

*** HEBA A1 League