Olympiacos FC owner Evangelos Marinakis on Wednesday was again elected to the helm of Greece’s Super League, the top professional football tier in the country, edging out Panathiankos FC owner Giannis Alafouzos 7-6 in a vote by representatives of the 14 eligible clubs.

One team representative cast a blank ballot.

The development marks another truly excellent opportunity for professional football in Greece. After Makis Gagatsis, who’s on a final countdown towards assuming the presidency of the Hellenic Football Association (EPO), thereby ending the federation’s “captivity”, the news that the Super League’s most successful president since its inception, Evangelos Marinakis, is again assuming the league’s “reins” comes as a relief. It was Marinakis who in his first tenure as Super League president (2010-11) achieved the signing of the biggest ever broadcast contract for the league – during a period when television rights were managed centrally by the latter.

It was during Marinakis’ second tenure (2022-23) that the biggest sponsorship deal for the Greek championship was signed, along with the crucial issue of the pro football cooperative’s annual revenue “take” from the Greek Super League betting pool, run by the national concessionaire, OPAP’s “Stoixima”.

These were deals that funneled several millions of euros into pro clubs’ coffers, something that was certainly appreciated, as shown from today’s vote in the very tight race to elect a new Super League leader.

The setting was the first time that witnessed the president of Olympiacos pitted against the president of Panathinaikos, Giannis Alafouzos, for the responsibility of the Super League’s top executive position. As such, the decision was admittedly a weighty one for the pro clubs casting a vote, as they were called upon to decide between two significant investors.

What appeared to clinch this administrative “derby” was proposals, and above all, intent.
Evangelos Marinakis tabled his candidacy by presenting a comprehensive plan to the other league owners. This plan includes ways to find and generate new revenue for the league; how to make the championship more attractive via a new format, which will entail playoffs for the teams finishing first through fourth in the regular season, as well as a playoff round for teams finishing fifth through eighth, with the prize here being a European play berth.

The plan also features a comprehensive “road map” for cooperation and partnership with EPO and the Super League 2 (the second pro tier), as well as with UEFA and FIFA.

The goal is none other than to elevate Greece’s Super League into the continent’s “Top 10”.

Marinakis presented his vision for an upgraded and robust Super League, when across the table Giannis Alafouzos merely became the “vehicle” for an entire “system” that over the last few years burdened pro football in the country.

After so many announcements over the years by the president of Panathinaikos regarding “reform” of the league, he ended up on Wednesday being supported by this very “system” – the “system” comprised of AEK, Aris and Lamia.

According to reports, Marinakis faced off against all odds for 24 hours – even with Alafouzos and with “reformers”, and even against certain representatives of the government (!), who attempted to encroach into the Super League and attempt to influence developments in pro football in the country. He faced off against everyone, and he vanquished all. And the most important point: at the end of the process he declared himself to be the president of the entire Super League and not just those who voted for him.

“We’re all together for the good of football. Football must be truly self-governing and remain apart from politicians and governments. Let us head into a better day for all of professional football,” was Marinakis’ statement, which inaugurated his third term as Super League president.

Voting results

Voting in favor of Evangelos Marinakis were: Olympiacos, Atromitos Athens, Asteras Tripolis, Volos, OFI Crete, PAOK Thessaloniki and Panserraikos.

Voting in favor of Giannis Alafouzos were: Lamia, Panathinaikos Athens, AEK Athens, Aris Thessaloniki, Kallithea Athens and Levadiakos.

The Panetolikos side cast a blank vote.

The Super League announmcent:

“”During today’s election, Mr. Evangelos Marinakis was elected as president of the board of directors of the Super League by a majority. Mr. Ekaterini Koxenoglou was elected to the position of deputy president of the board of Super League.”