Saudi prince abandons Panathinaikos buyout plan

ATHENS (AFP) - Saudi Prince Faisal bin Abdulaziz Nasser bin Abdulaziz al-Saud announced on Saturday that he is abandoning plans to buyout financially-troubled Panathinaikos.

The prince said he made the move after the Athens team's shareholders rejected "a very comprehensive and totally guaranteed buyout proposal".

"We tried until the very last day with a barrage of sincere attempts from our part to accomplish the deal, unfortunately the club, revealing its real mood, rejected this request," the prince said in a statement released in Riyadh and issued to the Greek media.

The prince claimed he was ready to immediately invest 28 million euros (S$44.9 million) into Panathinaikos if allowed to gain a minimum 67.5 per cent of the team's shares and to replace the current board of directors of the club.

His plans later called for a further investment into constructing a new stadium at a cost of 150 million euros and pledging another 40 million euros in player signings.

Current Panathinaikos president media and shipping magnate Giannis Alafouzos, who has formed a fan ownership structure for the team, claimed he was "allergic" to the ideas of the prince and has threatened legal action against him.

"We wish that those who rejected us will be able to stand up to the occasion and lead the team the way it deserves," Prince Faisal said.