Alan Hubbard – The Independent
LONDON – The shipping tycoon Evangelos Marinakis, President of top Greek side Olympiakos, has renewed his interest in joining the foreign legion of club owners here. Premier League newcomers Crystal Palace could become a target next season if they go down.
Sources close to Marinakis say he is again eyeing an opportunity to break into English football, relishing a fresh challenge after turning around the fortunes of Champions League club Olympiakos, and Palace fit the bill.
I understand he is being advised by his friend Ivan Gazidis, the Arsenal Chief Executive, a South African of Greek origin, and would like a working relationship between Olympiakos and a Championship side.
UEFA rules prohibit him owning a Premier League team unless he relinquishes control of Olympiakos, who have won 15 of the last 16 Greek League titles. Ownership of an English club might also see a more philanthropic approach to sponsorship. Rather than the dubious moneylenders and betting firms, his Olympiakos feature the UNICEF logo, with the club aiming to raise €2m from charity events in the next two years for UNICEF’s child immunization program.
Big, bearded and flamboyant, Marinakis, 45, turned down offers to buy Glasgow Rangers or a share of Milan. He was also once believed to be interested in West Ham. He has a house in Hampstead and is an ardent Liverpool supporter, providing Olympiakos as the opposition for Steven Gerrard’s testimonial game in August, and personally donating £100,000.