ATHENS – Greek-American businessman, lawyer, and Hellenic-American Chamber of Commerce (HACC) President Markos Drakotos was interviewed on ERT by journalist Aris Gatas regarding his interest in the Panathinaikos football team. The interview aired on ERT on May 22.
Regarding his interest in purchasing Panathinaikos, Drakotos said: “Thank you for giving me this opportunity to address the supporters of Panathinaikos. We have been looking at the possibility of purchasing the team for some time now, based upon what Mr. Alafouzos said publicly and we have a very strong interest in helping change the direction of the team as it’s been facing certain issues over the years. However, we must radically transform the functioning of the team, which has been problematic in the last few years. We will set the foundation for creating the conditions of a gradual recovery and return to the winning track. The team needs stability. In the past eight years, the team has had approximately 12 different coaches and nine different sport managers. Although money is important, it’s not the most important factor. Mr. Alafouzos takes his credit. Invested a great deal of money in the team, however, the money appears not to have been spent wisely as the results show. Despite its current low budget, Panathinaikos can be more competitive, just by investing in people who know the game and the expertise required in order to compete at a very high level, by bringing the team in stability that needs.”
About the next steps, Drakotos said: “I would like to also mention that I would hope that our interest in the team had not become public, out of respect for the current owner and the team. Unfortunately, our next steps are completely dependent upon Mr. Alafouzos, and whether he truly has an interest in selling the team. If he does, we are in a position to analyze the possible purchase of the team. I would also like to underscore, that I am committed to respecting the history of the team, its players, coaches, their families and the proud supporters of the club. Nonetheless, we must receive the team’s current financials, to plan our next steps and proceed with a concrete proposal, that will constitute the basis for further discussions and this will bring me to Athens.”
About his proposal, Drakotos noted that “our conversations with Mr. Alafouzos have been extremely limited. We were under the impression he wanted to sell, we approached him, he asked us to get him some certain information which we provided him, every time that we got to a particular point it amounted to nothing. We’ve already organized the financial aspect of the team.”
If he thinks that Panathinaikos can become again competitive against Olympiacos, Drakotos responded: “We will do everything that we possibly can to get to that level, to rise the team above what Olympiacos has been able to do all these years.”
Of when he started supporting Panathinaikos, Drakotos said: When I was 8-10 years old my grandfather had died and my great uncle, his brother, when I went to Greece that summer he took me to my first game and he said, ‘this is our team.’ Since then it has been my team and part of my life and I respect the team. Whether that comes to fruition and it happens, or it doesn’t happen I will always support the team, the owner and whoever plays on the team.”