Posted on Aug 11
A Russian tobacco magnate and politician of Greek descent has taken a giant step towards bailing out struggling Greek Super League club PAOK from an enormous debt, the club confirmed on Saturday.
Agreement was reached on Friday between PAOK shareholders and Ivan Savvidi, the club said.
Greek press reported that Savvidi has already deposited close to 10 million euros ($12.3m dollars) in the club's bank account in order to take a controlling 51 percent stake.
"The common goal of all sides is for PAOK to turn a page in its history and for each one of us to cooperate for the development of the team," PAOK said in a statement.
"With the utmost cooperation and common goals and of course with the support of the fans, we hope PAOK will soon achieve what it deserves."
According to the agreement, the current club management headed by president Zisis Vrizas will keep their posts until mid-November to ensure a smooth transition.
Savvidi loaned PAOK 1.8 million euros last May to help the team pay off some of its debts and to receive an operating license from Greek authorities.
The Salonica-based club reportedly owe 30 million euros in taxes and, together with debts owned to former players and other parties, that figure reaches some 50 million euros.
Savvidi has some experience in football management having being president of Russian Premier League side FC Rostov from 2002 to 2005 and holds the same position with third-division SKA Rostov.
PAOK finished third in the Super League last season, and are currently involved in Europa League action.