APOEL FC Ltd chairman Prodromos Petrides (left) and manager Kyriakos Zivanaris (photo Savvides Sports)
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Football powerhouse up for grabs

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APOEL Nicosia, the historic football powerhouse in Cyprus, is up for sale, with the club’s owners hiring an international agency to seek a wealthy buyer to dig them out of a financial pit.

Prodromos Petrides, Chairman of club owners APOEL FC Ltd, revealed during a press briefing his personal initiative to attract investors capable of alleviating the club’s substantial debt, now exceeding €30 million.

APOEL FC officially confirmed its collaboration with a U.S.-based firm specialising in connecting investors with football teams.

Petrides said that the agreement with the international company Mergerscorp will have no financial burden on APOEL for a finder’s fee. Payments will only be made if an investor is secured, and a formal agreement is finalised.

Advertisements hinting at the sale of “a Cypriot first division football team” had widely circulated online and on social media since June, initially drawing attention to smaller clubs facing financial challenges.

However, the urgent search for investors pertains to APOEL FC, the island’s most successful club, boasting 28 national championships, 21 cups, 13 super cups, and a quarterfinal appearance in the prestigious Champions League.

Petrides assured that members of APOEL FC Ltd were informed about the situation during the company’s latest annual general meeting in June.

At the AGM, Petrides had outlined the club’s financial struggles and emphasised that recovery efforts hinge on securing an investor, while concurrently developing a profitable stadium.

Attributing the club’s financial woes to the failure to reach the group stages of a European tournament in the past three years, Petrides stressed that this shortfall deprived the club of vital income necessary to maintain competitiveness.

Losses and debts

According to APOEL’s financial statements for the fiscal year 2022, the club incurred losses of €6,953,180, contributing to an accumulated debt of €34,053,724.

Last year’s financial reports unveiled a grim picture, with APOEL generating revenues of €9.4 million from European games, ticket sales, and TV rights.

Operating expenses, categorised as “cost of sales,” amounted to €14,061,926, accompanied by administrative expenses of €905,091 and other costs totalling €1,000,000.

Meanwhile, smaller clubs such as Aris Limassol and Pafos FC have experienced a turnaround under the recent ownership of affluent investors.

Aris Limassol, once considered an underdog, achieved its first championship in the club’s 93-year history, marking a significant financial boost.

On the European stage, Aris Limassol embarked on its journey in the second preliminary round of the Champions League, subsequently securing a place in the Europa League. Qualifying for the UEFA Europa League group stage translates to a substantial financial gain of €3.63 million.

In the group stage, teams earn €630,000 for each match victory and €210,000 for each drawn match.

Aris Limassol, in its five games, clinched a victory against Scottish team Rangers FC at home (2-1) and managed a draw with the same team (1-1) in Glasgow.

This success for Aris follows its acquisition by Belarusian investor Vladimir Federov two years ago.

Last season, both Pafos FC and Aris Limassol operated with significantly larger budgets than the traditional favourites in Cyprus, thanks to the support of wealthy Russian investors.

Pafos FC reported an impressive income of €17,063,306, more than double the figure from the previous year, while spending nearly €15 million.

Aris, benefiting from increased investment, reported an income of €11,592,294.

Currently, Aris Limassol and Pafos FC are at the top of the league together with traditional powerhouse APOEL at the end of the season’s first round.