A Memorandum of Understanding has been signed for a regeneration project in the Greek capital of Athens that will deliver a new 40,000-seat stadium for Super League football club Panathinaikos.
The stadium forms part of a proposed multi-purpose 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 wide-ranging project has been budgeted at €163.5m (£145.3m/$194.5m), with the stadium itself set to cost around €72m. The project has moved forward following the signing of a MoU by the Greek government, the Municipality of Athens, Panathinaikos Sports Club, the football club and the Alpha and Piraeus Banks.
The Municipality of Athens will undertake responsibility for the planning and construction of the stadium. 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 stadium will be built in the Votanikos area of Athens and replace the historic Leoforos Stadium, which opened in 1922 and will be turned into a park under the terms of the MoU.
The Municipality will also oversee the construction of the €30m basketball arena, which will serve as the headquarters of Panathinaikos’ basketball team. It is expected that all the necessary studies for the construction of the sports facilities will be completed by June 30, 2021 and it is hoped construction work can begin in the fourth quarter of next year.
It is expected that the football stadium will be built in around two and a half years. Any revenues generated from the stadium’s commercial operations will be distributed between the Greek state and the Municipality of Athens.
Panathinaikos owner Giannis Alafouzos said: “Today is a historic moment for Panathinaikos. A dream of decades, for the club to acquire its home, enters a phase of realisation.
“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 honour for me that in my days in the ownership of PAE, the absolutely fair request of Panathinaikos to acquire its own stadium is satisfied.”
Panathinaikos currently plays home matches at the Olympic Stadium, which also hosts rival Super League club AEK Athens.