While NBA franchise owners are crying poverty (reportedly, some 20 of 30 clubs are losing money), at least the players get paid. And while speculation on which NBAers will play in Europe during a 2010-11 full-season lockout continues – Whoever thought a Sonny Weems-to-Žalgiris deal would be so compelling? – we can now assume that few of the big league’s players will be coming to Greece.
To kick off the week, the Greek players’ union PSAK formally announced what has been rumored through this season and in seasons past: Namely, that most EΣAKE clubs are delinquent in payment.
In a stark post on the union’s official website Monday, PSAK representatives showed the results of “an investigation conducted by members of our association.” The numbers are indeed staggering.
Exactly half of last season’s top-division clubs owe 50% or more in back salaries to players. The chief offenders are, not surprisingly, the just-relegated AEK and, a bit shockingly, 2011-12 Euroleague qualifying-round squad PAOK. The only clubs managing to balance their payroll for 2010-11 are Greek league/Euroleague champion Panathinaikos and SA Icarus Kallithea.
Best of the worst in the first division were Ilysiakos, with seven of 10 months’ worth of back salaries paid; Panionios Athens and Maroussi BC at 6½; Aris and Olympiacos, six. One can only imagine what will become of the latter’s players’ pay with the big-money management having just cleared off…
PSAK noted, however, that all foreign players on top-division clubs have been paid in full for 2010-11.
In Greece’s A2, no team has paid its domestic players in full and nine of 14 clubs owe at least 50% of wages for the past season. And in the lowest-tier B division … well, you get the idea.
BiE will now ponder the long-term ramifications of this for Greek professional basketball, another problem this country’s league and federation really don’t need.