‘The Shamrock’ to ‘rock’ in new venue



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Greece Panathinaikos new stadium Image: Panathinaikos FC

The Greek capital of Athens is set to be rejuvenated with a hive of arenas including the long awaited 40,000-seat stadium for Super League football club Panathinaikos and an all round renovation that will project the Greek capital as a sports, entertainment and leisure destination.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed in this regard recently by the Government, the Municipality of Athens, the Panathinaikos Athletic Club, PAE Panathinaikos and AEP Eleonas investment entity made up of Alpha Bank and Piraeus Bank.

The stadium forms part of a proposed multipurpose complex that will house Panathinaikos’ various sports clubs. It will include a 12,500-seat basketball arena, a 1,500-capacity volleyball venue, an Olympic-sized swimming pool, other facilities, and at least 80 acres of green spaces.

The diversified project has been budgeted at €163.5m (£145.3m/$194.5m), with the stadium itself set to cost around €72m.

Super League football club Panathinaikos is a Greek professional football club based in the Capital City of Athens, Greece. Panathinaikos currently plays its home matches at the Olympic Stadium in Athens, which also serves as the residence of the rival Super League club AEK Athens.

The Municipality of Athens has fixed June 30th, 2021 for completion of relevant studies for the construction of the sports facilities and the football field. For the rest of the complex, the completion deadline has been set as September 30th, 2021.

The issuance of environmental and building permits for the sports facilities is expected to be completed by November 30th, 2021.

Groundbreaking work will start in the fourth quarter of 2021. The stadium construction work is expected to be wrapped up in two and half year’s time and the overall venture in 36 months.

Panathinaikos owner Giannis Alafouzos stated after signing of the MoU, “Today is a historic moment for Panathinaikos. A dream of decades, for the club to acquire its home, enters a phase of realization.”

“Panathinaikos changes level with the stadium at Votanikos. The sports club, the heart of the group, will finally have the facilities that are appropriate for the history of the most diverse club in Greece. It is an honor for me that in my days in the ownership of PAE, the absolutely fair request of Panathinaikos to acquire its own stadium is satisfied,” Alafouzos added.

The stadium will come up in the Votanikos area in Western Athens in lieu of the historic Leoforos Stadium, which opened in 1922 and will be turned into a park.

The Municipality of Athens will take on the mantle of planning and construction of the facility. The use and operation of the stadium will be assigned to Panathinaikos free of charge for 99 years, with the venue to also be opened for use by the Greek national team.

The Greece national football team represents Greece in men’s international football and is controlled by the Hellenic Football Federation, the governing body for football in Greece.

A statement sent out by the Municipality of Athens stated, “The Double Regeneration begins, a great spatial and urban intervention for the creation of two supra-local – metropolitan poles of recreation, sports, culture and other complementary functions in Alexandras Avenue and the Botanical Garden of the Municipality of Athens.”

“The Memorandum of Understanding and Cooperation was co-signed by the Minister of Development and Investment Adonis Georgiadis, representing the Greek State, the Mayor of Athens Costas Bakogiannis, the President of Panathinaikos Amateur Panagiotas Malafos Panasios Malakathos as a representative of GDP Eleonas, in the presence of the Attica Regional Governor George Patoulis,” the statement concluded.

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