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Greek Super League 2 clubs mull legal action over proposed ERT fee reductions

ATHENS, GREECE - NOVEMBER 07: Riot police stand guard outside the main entrance of ERT. (Photo by Milos Bicanski / Getty Images)

A pair of Greek Super League 2 clubs are considering legal action against Greek public broadcaster ERT in the wake of proposals which would see severe fee reductions for the coming season, SportBusiness understands.

Apollon Smyrnis is thought to have already written to ERT about the possibility of legal action, while Levadiakos is understood to be considering its position on whether to take similar steps.

Both clubs were relegated from the top tier last season and claim an agreement was in place for ERT to pay €1.5m ($1.6m) during the 2019-20 season for exclusive rights to their home matches, plus the equivalent rights to fellow relegated club PAS Giannina’s home matches.

It was widely reported that ERT had submitted an offer to the Super League 2 clubs which would see fees to the relegated trio cut by 60 per cent, from €1.5m to €600,000, while the remaining nine SL2 could have seen their combined fees reduced by 43 per cent, from €600,000 to €340,000. This was rejected unanimously by the 12 clubs.

ERT’s funding for sports-rights acquisitions was slashed following the snap election in Greece earlier this year. The government made substantial cutbacks to its funding which has rendered it unable to pay the sums which were agreed in 2018.

A counter-offer is now understood to have been submitted with a deadline set of October 1. If no deal is agreed, the SL2 clubs have indicated that they are willing to strike until an acceptable resolution is found.

It is thought that Apollon Smyrnis, Levadiakos and PAS Giannina would accept a reduction of 20 per cent to their fee, which would see it reduced to €1.2m, while the remaining nine SL2 clubs would be willing to accept a 12 per cent decrease in fees to €528,000.

ERT’s struggles have also affected Super League 1 clubs with pay-television broadcaster Nova capitalising on its rival’s struggles by signing deals with the majority of Greece’s top teams. PAOK remains the only major club in Greece without an agreed broadcast deal for this season. The club has instead been showing its home matches on its OTT platform, PAOK TV.