The Superleague Greece is the highest professional football league in Greece. It was formed on 16 July 2006 and replaced Alpha Ethniki at the top of the Greek football league system, the league consists of 16 teams and runs from August to May, with teams playing 30 games each. As of May 2013, Superleague Greece is ranked 12th in the UEFA ranking of leagues, the current champions are Olympiacos, who have won a total of 43 titles. Between 1905 and 1912, a Panhellenic Championship was organised by the Hellenic Association of Amateur Athletics and this championship was actually a local tournament among clubs from Athens and Piraeus. After the Balkan Wars and World War I, two associations were formed, one organising a football league in Athens and Piraeus. These were the Athens-Piraeus FCA and the Macedonia FCA, in 1923, a Panhellenic Champion was determined by a play-off game between the Athens-Piraeus and the Thessaloniki champions. Peiraikos Syndesmos won 3-1 against Aris Thessaloniki and this panhellenic final was not repeated the following year as the EPSAP was split into the Athens FCA and Piraeus FCA following a dispute. In 1927, a championship was organised in the form of a round-robin tournament between the champions of the three governing bodies. This time, Aris Thessaloniki won, finishing ahead of Ethnikos Piraeus and this national championship was set up again in 1929, and over the next years evolved into a tournament in which multiple teams took part. Still, these teams had to qualify for the championship through their local football competitions. In 1959 the Alpha Ethniki - the precursor of the current Superleague - was set up as a national round-robin tournament, at present,16 clubs compete in the Superleague, playing each other in a home and away series. At the end of the season, the three clubs are relegated to Football League. In their place, the top three teams from Football League are promoted, the number of teams to be relegated may change, depending on a licensing procedure that takes place at the end of the regular season. The league was reduced from 18 teams to 16 following the 2014–15 season, the Superleague is currently entitled to two entrants into the UEFA Champions League. The Superleague champion directly enters the stage of the UEFA Champions League. The second through fifth place teams in the Superleague enter a play-off for the second Greek entry, the play-off winner enters the UEFA Champions Leagues third qualifying round, a two-legged tie from which the winner advances to the play offs of the UEFA Champions League. The winner of the Greek Cup automatically qualifies for the UEFA Europa League, in the play-off for the UEFA Champions League, the teams play each other in a home and away round robin. However, they do not all start with 0 points, instead, a weighting system applies to the teams standing at the start of the play-off mini-league
Olympiacos dominating success can be further evidenced by the fact that all other Greek clubs have won a combined total of 37 League titles. They are also one of three clubs to have never been relegated from the top flight of Greek football. They have also won the Balkans Cup in 1963, becoming the first ever Greek club to win an international, Olympiacos is one of the founding members of the European Club Association in 2008. The clubs home ground is the Karaiskakis Stadium in Piraeus, Olympiacos is the most popular Greek club with around four million fans inside Greece and millions of others in the Greek communities all over the world. Olympiacos was placed ninth on the 2006 list of clubs with the largest number of paying members, in 2014, that figure increased and the team boasts 98,000 registered members. They share a great and long-standing rivalry with Panathinaikos, with whom they contest the derby of the eternal enemies, Olympiacos was founded on 10 March 1925, in the port of Piraeus. Notis Kamperos, a officer of the Hellenic Navy, proposed the name Olympiacos. Michalis Manouskos, a prominent Piraeus industrialist, expanded the name to its complete and current status, Andrianopoulos, a family of well-established Piraeus merchants, played a pivotal role in the founding of Olympiacos. The five brothers, Yiannis, Dinos, Giorgos, Vassilis and Leonidas Andrianopoulos raised the reputation of the club and brought it to its current glory. Yiannis, Dinos, Giorgos and Vassilis were the first to play, while Leonidas, back then, their fan base consisted mainly of the working class, with the teams home ground at Neo Phaliron Velodrome, before moving to its current Karaiskakis Stadium. They became Piraeus Champions in 1925 and 1926, in 1926, the Hellenic Football Federation was founded and organized the Panhellenic Championship in the 1927–1928 season. The Panhellenic Championship was organized in this manner up until 1958–59, during the course of that season, the three of them played friendly games with each other and formed a group called P. O. K. Those results ignited an enthusiastic reception from the Greek press, who called Olympiacos Thrylos for the first time in history, Olympiacos put in a great performance during the competition and won the title very convincingly with 11 wins,2 draws and only one game lost. They managed to score 7 wins in 7 matches at home, beating Panathinaikos, AEK Athens, Aris, Iraklis and PAOK with the same score, the sole exception was the match against Ethnikos, where Olympiacos netted 4 goals and won with 4–1. The rise of the new decade marked a rise in Panhellenic Championships popularity throughout Greece. In October 1931, Giorgos and Yiannis Andrianopoulos, emblematic players and founding members of Olympiacos, especially Giannis Vazos, Christoforos Raggos and Theologos Symeonidis composed a formidable trio of attacking players, scoring numerous goals and became nothing short of legendary. In addition, the managed to win the 1936–37 and 1937–38 Championship titles undefeated. On 28 October 1940, Fascist Italy invaded Greece, and several Olympiacos players joined the Hellenic Army to fight against the Axis invaders, chistoforos Raggos was heavily injured in his left leg in January 1941, and wasnt able to play football again
Panathinaikos Athlitikos Omilos, also known simply as Panathinaikos, is a major Greek multi-sport club based in the City of Athens. It has the trifolium as its emblem, symbol of harmony, unity, nature. Green and white are their colours, Panathinaikos is one of the most successful multi-sport club and one of the oldest clubs in Greece. It is amongst the most popular clubs in the country and one of the biggest worldwide, Panathinaikos teams and individual athletes have won numerous titles and have made notable participations in domestic and international competitions. The basketball and football teams of the club are the most successful Greek teams in terms of achievements in the European competitions, the football team of Panathinaikos is the only Greek team that has reached the UEFA Champions League final and also the semi-finals twice. It is also the only Greek football team that has played for the Intercontinental Cup, the basketball team of the club is the most successful in Greece and one of the most successful in Europe, with six European championships, one Intercontinental Cup and two Triple Crowns. The teams of Panathinaikos have played overall in 15 European and international finals, in the individual sports, Panathinaikos has a remarkable tradition in the athletics, cycling, shooting, fencing and boxing departments. It has produced numerous athletes, World champions and European champions, winners at the Olympic, Football made its appearance in Greece at the end of the 19th century. In 1908, an athlete of Panellinios, Giorgos Kalafatis, dismayed by his clubs decision to discontinue its football team, left with 40 other athletes. Konstantinos Tsiklitiras, the great Greek athlete of the early 20th century, the team of Kalafatis was renamed to Panellinios Podosferikos Omilos – i. e. Panhellenic Football Club – in 1911. In 1918, it was decided that the official crest of the club would be the trifolium, symbol of unity, harmony, nature, and good luck, an idea of player Michalis Papazoglou. The officials of the club were looking for a universal, non-nationalistic or localistic symbol, aiming to represent the whole Athens at the country and further at the world. Papazoglou was also the instigator of the Panathenaic Idea, the idea for the creation of a new club -for the Greek standards- which will participate in as more sports as possible. With the help of the others of the four of the club. In 1919, Kalafatis was a member of the Greece national football team participated in the Inter-Allied Games in Paris. There, he collected informations also about basketball and volleyball and after his return to Athens, in 1924, the club took its final and current name Panathinaikos Athlitikos Omilos, from now on a multi-sports club. The athletics department was founded in 1919, in the same year, Panathinaikos was one of the first clubs in Greece to form a volleyball team. In 1924, the tennis department was founded, in 1926 the tennis department and in 1928 the cycling, shooting
Aris Thessaloniki F.C.
Created in 1914 as Aris Thessaloniki Football Club, the club was a founding member of Macedonian Football Clubs Association as well as the Hellenic Football Federation. The colours of the club are yellow of glory, dominant colour in the culture of Macedonia, such as reminiscent of the Byzantine heritage of Thessaloniki, and black. It is named after Ares, the ancient Olympian God of War, associated also with courage and masculinity, Aris was also one of the most popular and strongest teams in Greece during the Interwar period. The club was established as a club by a group of 22 young friends in a coffee bar in Votsi area on 25 March 1914 and given the name Aris from Ares. Its nickname was inspired by the two Balkan Wars of 1912–1913, when Greece fought against the Ottoman Empire before engaging in a war with Bulgaria. In Greek mythology, Aris was a deity who was in conflict with Heracles, Aris holds a fierce rivalry with paok and Olympiakos. In the beginning the club was based on a near the Arch and Tomb of Galerius, the first stadium was built on the site where Mars Field Park currently lies on Stratou Avenue. Quickly the club became popular and soon new teams apart from football were established. During this early stage of football in Greece no professional league was established, instead, three minor leagues were created, with the champions of each league competing in a postseason mini tournament to claim the title of the national champion. The first official game was held in 1923 against Megas Alexandros Thessaloniki and that year marked the first title, when Aris was named regional champion of Macedonia, something that was repeated next year. In 1926 the club was renamed Athletic Club Aris Thessaloniki to include other sports than football. In the first race on 24 May, the team of Thessaloniki prevailed 3–1 Atromitos Athens, in iterative matches played in June in Thessaloniki, Aris won both of his opponents by 3–1 and thus crowned the first champion of Greece. The following year, it was held the stage of national championships although Aris won the championship title in Thessaloniki. The first took place on 12 May 1929 and ended 1–1, while the second was held on 2 June with Aris to beats 4–3, on 20 April 1929, the first friendly match took place between Aris and Panathinaikos, the yellows to defeat 5–4. The second championship came four years later in 1932, only time his opponents were Olympiakos, Panathinaikos, AEK, Ethnikos, paok. Four years after winning the first Panhellenic title, the won the championship. Leading scorer of the league emerged Nikos Kitsos with 15 goals, big stars of that team were Kitsos, Agelakis, Caltech, and Vogdanou Gkikopoulos while coach De Valera. That same year, the EPO instituted for the first time the Greek Cup and this was followed by victory over Apollo Athens, to reach the final where they lost 5–3 from AEK Athens, losing the chance to win the first doubles
AEK Athens F.C.
AEK F. C. abbreviated as AEK, known in European competitions as AEK Athens F. C. is a Greek association football club based in Nea Filadelfeia suburb of Athens. Established in Athens, in 1924, by Greek refugees from Constantinople, in the wake of the Greco-Turkish War, its name is a direct reference to the origins of the founders. The clubs emblem is the eagle, used by the Palaiologos dynasty and traditionally by the Byzantine Empire, as a remembrance of the Byzantine legacy. AEK is one of the three most successful teams in Greek football, winning 30 national titles and the only to have won all the competitions organised by the Hellenic Football Federation. They are one of the most popular Greek clubs with millions of fans in Greece and Cyprus, and in Greek communities worldwide, mainly in Australia, United Kingdom, and North America. The club has appeared several times in European competitions, in which they are the second most successful Greek football club in terms of achievements and they have also reached once the quarter-finals of the European Cup and twice the quarter-finals of the UEFA Cup Winners Cup. AEK is a member of the European Club Association, traditional rivalries of AEK are considered the matches against Olympiakos and Panathinaikos, the other two major clubs of the capital. PAOK is another of the clubs rivalries, the large Greek population of Constantinople, not unlike those of the other Ottoman urban centres, continued its athletic traditions in the form of numerous athletic clubs. Clubs such as Enosis Tataoulon and Iraklis from the Tatavla district, Megas Alexandros and Hermes of Galata and Olympias of Therapia existed to promote the Hellenic athletic and these were amongst a dozen Greek-backed clubs that dominated the sporting landscape of the city in the years preceding World War I. After the war, with the influx of mainly French and English soldiers to Constantinople, taxim, Pera, and Tatavla became the scene of weekly competitions in not only football, but of athletics, cycling, boxing, and tennis. Of the clubs in the city, though, football was dominated by Enosis Tataoulon, Hermes, one of the most popular clubs, was formed in 1875 by the Greek community of Pera. In 1920, a group of Constantinopolitan refugees met at the athletic shop Lux of Emilios Ionas and Konstantinos Dimopoulos on Veranzerou Street, in the center of Athens, and created AEK. GK, Kitsos, DF, Ieremiades, DF, Asderis, MF, Kechagias, MF, Paraskevas, MF, Dimopoulos, MF, Karagiannides, FW, Baltas, FW, Milas, FW, Iliades, FW, Georgiades. AEK played its first match against Aias Athinon in November 1924, not possessing a football ground, AEK played most of its early matches at various locations around Athens, including the grounds of the Temple of Olympian Zeus and the Leoforos Alexandras Stadium. In 1926, land in Nea Filadelfeia that was set aside for refugee housing, was donated as a training ground for the refugees sports activities. AEK began using the ground for training and by 1930, the property was signed over to the club, venizelos soon approved the plans to build what was to become AEKs home ground for the next 70 years, the Nikos Goumas Stadium. The first home game, in November 1930, was a match against Olympiakos that ended in a 2–2 draw. In 1928, Panathinaikos, Olympiakos, and AEK, began a dispute with the fledgling Hellenic Football Federation, decided to break away from the Athens regional league, during the dispute, POK organised friendly matches against each other and several continental European clubs
They play their home games at Toumba Stadium, with a capacity of 28,803 seats. PAOK was established on 20 April 1926 by Greek Constantinopolitans who fled to Thessaloniki from the city of Constantinople (present-day Istanbul in the wake of the Greco-Turkish War, emblem of the team is a Byzantine-style double-headed eagle, adopted three years after the establishment of the club. PAOK currently plays in the top-flight Superleague Greece, which they have won twice and they have won also four times the Greek Football Cup. The team has appeared several times in the UEFA Europa League competition and their best European performance was in the 1973–74 season, when they reached the quarter-finals of the UEFA Cup Winners Cup. PAOK FC is the oldest division of PAOK Sports Club, the successor of Hermes Sports Club, which was formed in 1877 by the Greek community of Pera, the football club was founded in 1926. The original logo of PAOK was a horseshoe and a four-leaf clover, the two teams were merged in 1929, adopting the still-current two-headed eagle symbol, also in 1929. The eagle symbolizes the origins of the club in the former Byzantine capital, Constantinople, the first professional contract was signed by the club on 5 September 1928. The contract stipulated that the French footballer Raymond Etienne – of Jewish descent from Pera Club – would be paid 4,000 drachmas per month, the contract was signed by Dr. Meletiou, the PAOK chairman, and Mr. Sakellaropoulos, the Hon. Secretary. In the 1950s, the won the Thessaloniki Championship for four successive seasons. In 1959, their new Toumba Stadium opened, Giorgos Koudas, the great star of the team made his first appearance in 1963. With him, PAOK won their first national titles, the Greek Football Cup and they won also for the first time the Greek Championship in 1975–76, a feat they would repeat in 1984–85. At the European level, the club made its best ever performance after reaching the quarter-finals of the UEFA Cup Winners Cup in 1973–74, where they were knocked out by Milan. PAOK also made an appearance against German giants Bayern Munich in the 1983–84 UEFA Cup. Since 1985, a period of decline affected the club, in 1992, they lost in the Greek Cup final to Olympiacos. In 1996, Thomas Voulinos handed over the reins of the club to Giorgos Batatoudis, numerous transfers of well-known players such as Percy Olivares, Zisis Vryzas, Spiros Marangos and Kostas Frantzeskos took place under the new administration. In 1997, having served its five-year ban, PAOK qualified for the UEFA Cup under coach Angelos Anastasiadis, the clubs reappearance at European level was marked by a victory and qualification over Arsenal. The new team, however, did not prove successful in the domestic league. The clubs continuing inability to break the dominance of the big three in the league resulted in several changes over the following three years
Iraklis 1908 Thessaloniki F.C.
Iraklis 1908 FC or Iraklis FC, is a Greek football club, based in the city of Thessaloniki, Macedonia, Greece, currently playing in the Superleague, the top tier of Greek football. Their home ground is the Kaftanzoglio Stadium with a capacity of 27,770, founded in 1908 as Macedonikos Gymnasticos Syllogos, they are one of the oldest in Greek football and the oldest in Thessaloniki, hence the nickname Ghireos. A year later, the name Iraklis was added to the name as an honour to the ancient Greek hero Heracles. The teams colours are cyan or blue and white, inspired by the Greek flag, Iraklis was a founding member of Macedonia Football Clubs Association, as well as the Hellenic Football Federation, as a part of G. S. Iraklis. Before the formation of the league of Alpha Ethniki, Iraklis competed in the league that was run by the Macedonia Football Clubs Association. The club has played in five Greek Cup finals, lifting the trophy once in the 1976 final. They have also a title, as they won the Balkans Cup in 1985. Iraklis traces its roots back in 1899 when Omilos Filomouson was established, the club was established as a cultural union of the Greeks of Thessaloniki, but in 1902 it founded a sports department. Football was a new sport at the time, but rapidly increasing in popularity, the first match that was held by the Omilos Filomouson football team was on 23 April 1905, against a team of the Western European diaspora of the city called Union Sportive. Omilos Filomouson won the match by a 3-0 scoreline, later on, the club faced financial problems, but members of the club joined forces with another Greek athletic club of the city, called Olympia. The result of union was the foundation of a new club on 29 November 1908, called Makedonikos Gymnastikos Syllogos. The new clubs first president was a Greek doctor, Alkiviadis Maltos, the name of the club had a direct reference to the ethnic tensions that took place in the area at that time. Due to the Young Turks revolt of 1908 and their promises for ease of ethnic tensions in the area, thus a new name was decided for the club, Ottomanikos Ellinikos Gymnastikos Syllogos Thessalonikis Iraklis. The new name was approved, together with a new statute, Iraklis won Alliance 3-1, Progrès Sportive 5-1 and after winning the French-German School Alumni Union, the club was proclaimed Champion of Thessaloniki. On 6 April 1914, Iraklis played a match against Athinaikos Syllogos Podosfairou and it was the clubs first match against a club outside Thessaloniki. In 1914, Iraklis established the clubs youth squad, so the students of the Greek Gymnasium of the city could train in football, a year later Iraklis won the second Thessaloniki Football Championship. The next championship was not held due to World War I, in the years following World War I, several football clubs were established in Thessaloniki and that led to the establishment of the Macedonia Football Clubs Association in 1923. The first championship from the newly founded association was organised shortly afterwards, in 1924 Iraklis played its first match against a club from outside the borders of Greece
Ethnikos Piraeus F.C.
Ethnikos Piraeus 1923 F. C. is a Greek professional football club based in Piraeus. They have had a turbulent recent history, and are competing in the third division Football League 2. Colloquially referred to as Ethnikos Piraeus, is a club with teams competing in football, water polo. The clubs most significant teams, in terms of history and success, are their football and water polo teams, prior to 1959–60 Greek football was played in regional championships and then the top teams from each region would advance to play for the National Championship. In some pre-War years a traditional Final match was played between 2 regional champions, but generally the Panhellenic Championship was played as a final round-robin between at least 3 teams, Ethnikos was Piraeus Champion in 1927–28, but lost the National Championship to Aris. The following year Ethnikos was Piraeus Champion once again, but the National Championship was not played, in 1932–33 Ethnikos won the Greek Cup, the club’s only major title. Ethnikos eliminated Apollon in the Quarterfinals and Olympiacos in the Semifinals before meeting Aris in the Final, Ethnikos and Aris played to a 2–2 draw in Thessaloniki, but Ethnikos won the replay 2–1 and took the Cup. Ethnikos won another Piraeus Championship in 1938–39, but lost the South Division by 2 points, Ethnikos reached the Semifinals of the Greek Cup in 1938–39 and 1939–40, but lost to PAOK and Panathinaikos, respectively. The Ethnikos teams of the mid- to late-1950s are considered by many to be Ethnikos’ greatest teams, in 1955–56 Ethnikos finished 2nd in Greece, just 1 point behind champions Olympiakos. In 1956–57 a scandal robbed Ethnikos of the National Championship, with 4 matches left in the National Championship, Ethnikos was favorite for the title, and next on the schedule was Olympiakos, who Ethnikos had already defeated earlier in the season. Ethnikos was docked 4 points and not allowed to play the final 4 matches of the season, from 1959–60 the Greek championship changed to its modern form and the first division became known as Alpha Ethniki. Since 1959–60 Ethnikos is tied for the 8th-most first division participations with 36, along with OFI, ahead of Ethnikos are traditional powers Olympiakos, Panathinaikos, AEK and PAOK as well as Iraklis, Aris and Panionios. During the 1960s Ethnikos’ best league finishes were 5th in 1962–63 and 6th in 1960–61, from 1960–61 to 1968–69 Ethnikos never finished outside the top 10. Ethnikos reached the Semifinals of the Greek Cup twice during the 1960s, in 1967–68 Ethnikos lost in the Semifinals to Panathinaikos. The following year Ethnikos came desperately close to another Cup Final – after defeating PAOK 5–4 in the Quarterfinals, in 1974–75 Ethnikos made its best challenge for the league championship in the modern era. Though never making another challenge for the league championship, Ethnikos remained consistently competitive during the 1970s. Ethnikos’ two best runs in the Greek Cup in the 1970s were halted by PAOK, in 1972-72 Ethnikos lost to PAOK 3–2 in the Semifinals and in 1976–77 Ethnikos was defeated by PAOK in the Quarterfinals. Ethnikos made decent 7th-place finishes in 1979–80 and 1980–81, but the team would struggle through the rest of the 1980s
Apollon Smyrni F.C.
Apollon Smyrni F. C. or in its full name Gymnasticos Syllogos Apollon Smyrnis is a Greek football club based in the city of Athens, that plays in the Super League. It was founded in Smyrna in 1891 and is one of the oldest sports clubs in Greece, Apollon has departments in football, basketball, volleyball, water polo and other sports. Apollon Smyrna was founded in 1891 by former members of club Orpheus, Orpheus had been founded one year earlier in 1890. Among the founders of Apollon were prominent residents of Smyrna such as Chrysostomos of Smyrna, roughly in the year of 1893, the athletic department was organised. The first games of Smyrna took place in 1894, organized by the English sports fans of Bornova, in these games the athletes of Apollon achieved a lot of first victories. The person with the most wins was Theologos Anastasoglou, an athlete who later became Olympic champion. The Games were always organized by English sports fans until 1903, the third anniversary of the foundation of Apollon was celebrated joyously. Chairman N. Koulmasis gave the speech of the day, while the famous S. Pittakis spoke of Delphi and recited the anthem to the god Apollo. There was a pedestal on which had been set up an altar to praise the god Apollo. In 1894, with the election of its new presiding board, of the first excursions that were organized, one was to Ephesus and another to Aidini, in which the Russian scholar and historical Frigkol took part. In 1894, the council of the Gymnastic Association of Apollon was composed of chairman Mathaios Provatopoulos, sofianopoulos, G. Oikonomidis, A. Koulampidis and C. During this season the team acquired a privately owned ground, initially, only its members fought on these. Later, however it organized games in other associations could also take part. Apollon acquired its own stadium in 1894, at this point we should examine a little the background of the foundation of the first ground of Apollon. Fourteen years before, in 1880, Ioannis Damvergis with Apostolos Psaltof, Stefanos Papamihalis, makroulidis, all students of the Evangelic Faculty of Smyrni, created an off-hand gym in some open space, known with the name love arena. After they opened the ground, they set up a perimeter using ropes because of a lack of money, then, with hard economising, they bought a horizontal bar and other gymnastic equipment. The youth of Smyrni exercised there paying a symbolic price and this primitive gym constituted the precursor of the gym of Apollo, but was also the fountain for the later great athletes of the association. For this reason, the creator of this gym, Apostolos Psaltof, was called the grandfather of Apollon
The Hellenic Association of Amateur Athletics is Greeces governing body for amateur sport. SEGAS was created in 1897 and has been the organiser of many international sporting competitions held in Greece. SEGAS is putting together the Athens Classic Marathon taking place in November this year, the president of the association is Vassilis Sevastis. When two Greek sprinters were barred from the Athens Olympics in 2004 for drug abuse, SEGAS set up an independent tribunal to review the ban and they are located at 137 Syngrou Avenue, Nea Smirni, Athens