Two of the most successful Greek coaches of last season, Giorgos Bartzokas and Ilias Zouros, quit their posts this week, leaving financially-challenged Maroussi and Panellinios without coaches in mid-September.
Both Athens clubs have had serious money problems and have failed so far to get their license to enter the new season’s A1 league.
Maroussi’s problems are even more pressing as they are supposed to enter the Euroleague qualifiers on September 21, against Budivelnik Kiev, but have gaps in their roster and their financial Stability is far from guaranteed, after the change in ownership from Aris Vovos to Giorgos Gamaris.
Already one of the club’s players, Marios Batis, has defected to Panionios.
Now that Bartzokas is gone, too, the club is in desperate need for a coach, some more players and some funds.
Panellinios is in a different situation as its financial problems are smaller thanks to owner Minos Kyriakou, but they have done no planning for the new season. The roster of the team contains only two players in mid-September, with the league set to start next month.
It is also unknown where the team will be based this season, as its clash with the amateur division of Panellinios, the owner of the basketball court in Kypseli, means that the basketball team may well have to leave its traditional heartland in central Athens and seek a new home, possibly in Larissa.
Zouros’s departure on Thursday was far from a surprise, but it has left the Kypseli club with one more major headache. Thanassis Skourtopoulos is a possible successor.
Maroussi and Panellinios are only two of the A1 clubs that failed to get a licence to play this season, as the Professional Sports Commission announced on Thursday that six teams would have to submit their applications again. Along with Maroussi and Panellinios, they are AEK, Iraklis, Ilisiakos and Peristeri.