Greek Side Olympiakos Pulls Out Of OPAP Sponsorship Over AEK Row
Superleague Greece side Olympiakos has "pulled out of its sponsorship deal" with lottery and sports betting operator OPAP SA, according to Panos Bletsos of INSIDE WORLD FOOTBALL. The club made the decision soon after OPAP "changed ownership." OPAP "has been the sponsor kings of the Greek game for more than half a century." The Greek government agreed to sell its controlling stake of 33% in OPAP to Czech-Greek joint venture Emma Delta Ltd., "as the sole bidder in the auction's final stage raised its offer" to €652M ($870M). The Emma Delta fund is controlled by Emma Capital Founder Jirí Šmejc (66.7%) and son of AEK Owner Dimitris Melissanidis, Yorgos Melissanidis (33.3%). It "was a move which sparked the reaction of Olympiakos," which accused the 62-year-old businessman "of preferential treatment to long-standing rivals AEK." OPAP's sponsorship offer of €1.9M ($2.5M) per year has "seemingly infuriated" Olympiakos, which "had penned a deal" estimated at €2.1M ($2.8M) (INSIDE WORLD FOOTBALL, 9/18).