Xanthi football club.png
Full nameΑ.Ο. Ξάνθη Π.Α.Ε.
(AO Xanthi Football Club)
Nickname(s)Akrítes (Frontiersmen)
Short nameAOX
Founded4 June 1967; 54 years ago (4 June 1967)
GroundXanthi FC Arena
ChairmanBill Papas
ManagerKonstantinos Anyfantakis
LeagueSuper League Greece 2
2021–22Super League Greece 2, 3rd
WebsiteClub website
Current season

Xanthi Football Club (Greek: Α.Ο. Ξάνθη Π.Α.Ε.) is a Greek professional football club based in Xanthi, Western Thrace. The club competes in the Super League 2, and plays at Xanthi FC Arena.

Founded in 1967, Xanthi is well set up in terms of their financial support and youth setup. Xanthi participated in the UEFA Cup / Europa League in 2001–02, 2005–06, 2006–07 and 2013–14 seasons. In the 2004–05 season, Xanthi finished fourth in the Alpha Ethinki (first division, today Super League), the club's all-time best performance.

Xanthi's first appearance in the first division was in 1989, and the club remained in the top flight until its relegation in 2020.


The club was formed in 1967 from the merger of two local clubs: Aspida Xanthi, who was founded in 1922 and was the club of the most popular layers of the region. The "blues" in 1961 had become champions in the Northern League of Beta Ethniki, losing the accession from Panelefsiniakos in the barrage game) and Orfeas Xanthi, who was founded in 1903 and was the bourgeoisie of the city. From 1957 to 1964, Orfeas competed in the Northern Group of the Beta Ethniki (which held in 3 groups).[1] The derby of the two teams was the most characteristic, with the city divided into two in each encounter.

In June 1967, with the Greek military junta in government, the movements in Xanthi were also made to create a team that would unite the dynamics of the two clubs, while the national championships were reorganized. The strengthening of the region in sport at that time had also taken place in other parts of the country and at the same time AO Xanthi (among other clubs) participated directly in the single second national category. Not long ago, from 1967 until 1985, the club remained in the Beta Ethniki, with all the restructuring that had suffered the class and benefited in the early years. The difficulties were great, the revenues were few, but Xanthi's stadium was always filled. The yellow and black beads of Orfeas Xanthi and the shades of Aspida Xanthi, have brought the red of AO Xanthi, which has joined and united the city for many years. Those years were different, difficult, but "sweet". Without the abundance of images, the imagination was rampant, transforming footballers into "holy monsters" of the sport. Something that apply for all teams. 18 years stays Xanthi Football Club on the stadiums of the Beta Ethniki. In this timeframe, the club generally completed the racing season under the 10th place of the scoreboard, while only in 1969–70 they had reached the 7th and the 1974–75 season in the 9th place. When they started to show how they were preparing for the jump in the top division, the 1982–83 season ended 5th, the next 4th and the 1984–85 season which was ambitious for something bigger, they were downgraded.

In 1985–86, with this new administration of Mr. Kokkalas, Xanthi was reformed and returned stronger. First title in the Gamma Ethniki in 1985–86, followed by another three seasons in the Beta Ethniki until the big dream came true. From the 8th and 11th places of '87 and '88 respectively, in the summer of 1989 the city and the club lived unforgettable moments by conquering the title of the Beta Ethniki and at the same time the historic rise in the big lounges. In one year, Xanthi had first goal scorer Achilleas Adamopoulos with 30 goals.

First years in the top division

The first experiences in the Alpha Ethniki were unique, difficult and unforgettable. With enthusiasm, passion and a "hot" atmosphere at the stadium, the basic goal of staying in the early years was achieved with a lot of stress. Mr Kokkala's administration first brought foreign footballers, with the Brazilians Marcelo Veridiano and Sandro making the start and following others. Especially Marcelo, he has a special place in the heart of the fans, as he still continues to be the top scorer of the club. Despite the anxiety and the end result justifying the efforts, Xanthi remained until October 1991 in the Alpha Ethniki and with the same profile.[2]

In the chairmanship of Theodoros Kokkalas, Xanthi had already managed to win two championships in the Gamma and Beta Ethniki, the rise and the renewal of the team stay for two consecutive season in the top division, the Alpha Ethniki. But the top achievement of then Xanthi's administration was to find the ideal choice for the next day of the team, the city and the wider area in the football world. Even randomly, as the original agreement was a sponsorship of Skoda vehicles company in Greece for which the responsible importer in Greece was the company Viamar S.A. by Christos Panopoulos. Everything was done very quickly, but not too quickly, and timing was such a legal one that allowed the clubs to have a "sign" sponsor in their original name. That's how Xanthi was renamed "Skoda Xanthi".[3] The signatures that fell on 10 October 1991 between Kokkalas and Panopoulos at Ledra Marriott hotel in Athens, really took off the shares of the club and kept alive, in time, the names of all those who had been abused for the club.[4]

Panopoulos era

Pelé officially inaugurated Xanthi's new stadium Xanthi FC Arena in 2005.
Pelé officially inaugurated Xanthi's new stadium Xanthi FC Arena in 2005.

The modern history of Xanthi brings broadly the signature of the great shareholder of the club, Christos Panopoulos,[5] who is already the most long-lasting owner in Greek football, keeping the club to the same high standards that he has set since his first days at the leading peak of Xanthi, as he is called since 2016, when the cooperation with Skoda was ended and the club's name returned to its original.

Also, while several companies perceive marketing as a feature of impressions, Xanthi has been successful since Christos Panopoulos took over this business. In 1991, Xanthi giving its solutions in the economic field and at the same time becoming a rising-initially-and constant force afterwards. They were the first club that established for many years in the 1990s the award of its best Player of the Year, with a donation of a sponsor car. It was the first provincial club that in 1994 had organized an international tournament at the Xanthi Ground with the participation of Coventry City, Portsmouth and AEK Athens. That same year he had brought coach Howard Kendall,[6] who a few months earlier was a coach in Everton. In 2005, the world's top football player, Pelé, launched its sports center and its new stadium Xanthi FC Arena, giving the world glamor to the event.[7] In the same year, on 7 July, Xanthi announced one of the biggest transfers in its history, the Brazilian defensive midfielder Emerson.[8] Bill Papas paid $15 million USD to buy the club. Since 2021 Xanthi has come in the media spotlight in Australia as Bill Papas who ran Forum Group is alleged to have committed largest financial fraud amount in Australian history, and it seems Xanthi FC is funded by Papas’ ill gotten gains.

Crest and colours


In the early years, the team's emblem consisted exclusively of Democritus. A new emblem with small changes was introduced in 1985. The emblem was retained in this form until 1991 when elements of VIAMAR SA, a new owner of the club, were added. In 1996, Skoda's brand was added. A further change in the emblem took place in 2001, with the addition of the soccer ball, while in 2007 a different version of the particular emblem was presented. In 2012 a new emblem was presented, in which the bust of Democritus was now in the middle.[9][10]

The year 2016 is a new reference point in the history of Xanthi.[11][12] Many and radical changes to issues that were not racing. At the end of the 2015–16 season, and more specifically from 1 June 2016, Skoda Xanthi SA returned to its roots and is now called AO Xanthi Football Club. The cooperation of the "mother" of the football club VIAMAR SA ended with the well-known automotive industry and therefore the association that has linked its name for 25 consecutive years with its sponsor, goes back with its own forces and of course, under the auspices of VIAMAR, the company of the major shareholder Mr. Christos Panopoulos. This has led to many changes. From the name and logo, to the field and the philosophy.[13][14]


The yellow and black kits of Orfeas[15] and the shades of Aspida,[16] have brought the red of AO Xanthi, which has joined and united the city for many years.


Main article: Xanthi FC Arena

Xanthi FC Arena's pitch and secondary stand
Xanthi FC Arena's pitch and secondary stand

Xanthi left their old stadium, the Xanthi Ground (capacity 9,500), located near the centre of the city, for the Xanthi FC Arena in 2004.[17] Their new stadium sited 8 km outside the city, near Pigadia village, has a capacity of 7,244, however has only 3 stands. When the final stand is finally built, the new capacity will be around 9,000 seats. The stadium is located in the same place as the sports center of the Thracian Club, a real jewel for Greek football.[18] The sports center includes, among other things, seven stadiums, as well as the hotel "Le Chalet". The construction of the stadium itself, costing €6,500,000.

The first game at the Xanthi FC Arena took place on 18 September 2004, with the team of Xanthi being imposed 3–1 on Aris for the 1st match of Alpha Ethniki Championship for the 2004–05 season.[19]

The stadium was officially inaugurated by the Brazilian legend Pelé on 12 May 2005.[20][21]

On 16 January 2005, and before the game with Ionian a fan of Xanthi, Stamatis Georgoudakis lost his life.[22] Since then the Gate B-C has been named after the stadium. The ticket record was played with Panathinaikos on 20 January 2007 with 6,642 spectators. In the summer of 2016, the stadium was renamed "Xanthi FC Arena".[23]


Right next to Xanthi FC Arena, there is the club's athletic center, which, in addition to the two courts, has all the necessary spaces for coaches, players and staff to work on their field.[24][25] In a huge area almost adjacent to the stadium, it is located in the sports center of Xanthi, with the "despotic" presence of the hotel Le Chalet.[26] A hotel that after its complete destruction on 7 March 2003 by fire,[27] was not the few who supported, that Christos Panopoulos would leave everything and would be away from the team and generally from football. This has not been done, and to this day, Le Chalet overlooking the 7 football fields, the pool, the pool bar, the basketball court, the tennis court and the changing rooms, has all the specifications for an excellent sporting preparation. For the team of Xanthi and all the departments of its Academy and many other clubs that have preferred the athletic center of Xanthi to preparation before the start of the season. In 2017, it was also characteristic that the coach of Greece, Michael Skibbe, in one of his first statements as a federal coach, referring to the sports center of Xanthi with the best words.




Winners: 1988–89
Winners: 1985–86


Runners-up: 2014–15

League history


Seasons in the 21st century

Season Category Position Cup
2000–01 Alpha Ethniki 8th QF
2001–02 Alpha Ethniki 5th SF
2002–03 Alpha Ethniki 9th 2R
2003–04 Alpha Ethniki 10th R16
2004–05 Alpha Ethniki 4th SF
2005–06 Alpha Ethniki 5th QF
2006–07 Super League 11th SF
2007–08 Super League 8th QF
2008–09 Super League 7th QF
2009–10 Super League 13th QF
2010–11 Super League 9th 4R
2011–12 Super League 11th 5R
2012–13 Super League 7th 4R
2013–14 Super League 16th 2R
2014–15 Super League 8th RU
2015–16 Super League 13th GS
2016–17 Super League 6th QF
2017–18 Super League 6th R16
2018–19 Super League 12th R16
2019–20 Super League 13th (R) R16
2020–21 Super League 2 2nd
2021–22 Super League 2 3rd 5R

Best position in bold.

Key: 2R = Second Round, 3R = Third Round, 4R = Fourth Round, 5R = Fifth Round, GS = Group Stage, R16 = Round of 16, QF = Quarter-finals, SF = Semi-finals.

European matches

Season Competition Round Opponent Home Away Aggregate
2002–03 UEFA Cup First round Italy Lazio 0–0 0–4 0–4
2005–06 UEFA Cup First round England Middlesbrough 0–0 0–2 0–2
2006–07 UEFA Cup First round Romania Dinamo București 3–4 1–4 4–8
2013–14 UEFA Europa League Second qualifying round Northern Ireland Linfield 0–1 2–1 (aet) 2–2 (a)
Third qualifying round Belgium Standard Liège 1–2 1–2 2–4


Current squad

As of 1 February 2022[30]

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Pos. Nation Player
1 GK Greece GRE Alexandros Tsobanidis
2 DF Greece GRE Ilias Polimos
4 DF Greece GRE Christos Batzios
5 DF Greece GRE Alexios Michail
6 DF Greece GRE Konstantinos Thymianis (third-captain)
7 MF Greece GRE Anastasios Kritikos
9 FW North Macedonia MKD Besart Ibraimi
11 MF Moldova MDA Radu Gînsari
12 DF Greece GRE Anastasios Papazoglou (captain)
16 MF Greece GRE Sarantis Tselebakis
17 FW Greece GRE Tanzou Halil Ibram
18 MF Mexico MEX Alexis Quezada
19 FW Greece GRE Dimitrios Diamantopoulos
20 GK Australia AUS Paul Izzo (vice-captain)
21 GK Greece GRE Asterios Giakoumis
No. Pos. Nation Player
22 FW Serbia SRB Nenad Gavrić
23 MF Nigeria NGA Sudais Ali Baba (on loan from Asteras Tripolis)
25 MF Spain ESP Vicente Gómez
26 FW North Macedonia MKD Luka Zdravkovski
27 DF Greece GRE Manolis Tzanakakis
28 MF France FRA Steeven Joseph-Monrose
29 GK Greece GRE Lazaros Iliopoulos
31 DF Greece GRE Filippos Dimitriadis
33 DF Greece GRE Manolis Fazos
38 MF Greece GRE Ilias Tselios
44 MF Greece GRE Alexandros Doris
47 MF Greece GRE Georgios Tsilingiris
63 DF Greece GRE Dimitrios Oungialidis
64 DF Greece GRE Panagiotis Deligiannidis
99 DF Kosovo KVX Norik Humolli

Out on loan

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Pos. Nation Player
DF Greece GRE Ilias Tsitsekidis (at Enosi Alexandroupoli until 30 June 2022)

Squad U19

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Pos. Nation Player
GK Greece GRE Charalampos Tasidis
GK Greece GRE Dimitrios Kotsakis
GK Greece GRE Athanasios Chatzis
GK Greece GRE Alexandros Tsompanidis
DF Greece GRE Lefteris Tsiengelidis
DF Greece GRE Ilias Markou
DF Greece GRE Anastasios Papadopoulos
DF Greece GRE Konstantinos Karatlidis
DF Greece GRE Dimitrios Kalaitzis
DF Greece GRE Konstantinos Tsagalidis
No. Pos. Nation Player
DF Greece GRE Panagiotis Bakos
MF Greece GRE Alexandros Ioakimidis
MF Greece GRE Antonis Pitsolis
MF Greece GRE Panagiotis Papadimitriou
MF Greece GRE Anastasios Magafinis
MF Greece GRE Stratos Amanatidis
MF Greece GRE Emre Chotska
MF Australia AUS Matthew Scarcella
FW Greece GRE Valsamis Arabatzis

Squad U17

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Pos. Nation Player
GK Greece GRE Vasilios Nikolakoulis
GK Greece GRE Konstantinos Tyriakis
GK Greece GRE Giannis Ignatiadis
MF Greece GRE Dimitrios Bazoidis
No. Pos. Nation Player
MF Greece GRE Konstantinos Zipidis
MF Greece GRE Giannis Iosifidis
MF Greece GRE Lefteris Anastasiadis
FW Greece GRE Anastasios Anthoulakis

Retired numbers

Main article: Retired numbers in association football

Notable former players

See also: Category:Xanthi F.C. players


Owner Greece Australia Bill Papas
Chairman Greece Australia Bill Papas
Vice-Chairman Greece Giorgos K. Stratos
Chief executive officer Greece Nikolaos Epitropou
Board Member Greece Giorgos Berberoglou
Board Member Greece Nikos Damkalis
First team staff
Sport director Greece Ieroklis Stoltidis
Head coach Greece Konstantinos Anyfantakis
Assistant coach Portugal Todol Virgili Salvador
Assistant coach Germany Guido Hoffmann
Goalkeeper coach Greece Alekos Maladenis
Sports science & medicine manager Greece Christos Bikos
Strength & conditioning coach Portugal Das Neves Soao Miguel
Physiotherapist Greece Valantis Chatzigiannis
Caretaker Turkey Chousein Tsitak
Under-20s & academy coaching staff
Academy manager Greece Periklis Kalogiannis
Academy goalkeeping coach Greece Nikos Kalaitzis
Under 20s lead coach Greece Kostas Prodromitis
Under 17s lead coach Greece Kostas Bedrelis
Under 15s lead coach Vacant

Former personnel


Director of Sport

Current sponsorships

Managerial history


  1. ^ "Xanthi's history". xanthifc.gr.
  2. ^ "Six Brazilians of Xanthi that make history". menshouse.gr.
  3. ^ "When Xanthi became "Skoda Xanthi"". onsports.gr. 10 October 2012.
  4. ^ "Football clubs with a sponsor in their names" (in Greek). sport24.gr.
  5. ^ "Who is Christos Panopoulos" (in Greek). xanthifc.gr.
  6. ^ "Howard Kendall" (in Greek). blessedfootball.blogspot.com.
  7. ^ "Grand opening of the new stadium from a football legend" (in Greek). ant1news.gr. Retrieved 12 May 2005.
  8. ^ "Xanthi signed Emerson" (in Greek). sport-fm.gr. Retrieved 7 July 2005.
  9. ^ "With a new crest Skoda Xanthi" (in Greek). sport24.gr. Retrieved 26 May 2012.
  10. ^ "Democritus in the crest's middle" (in Greek). empros.gr. 30 May 2012. Retrieved 30 May 2012.
  11. ^ "New era in Xanthi - Changed club's crest" (in Greek). sport-fm.gr. Retrieved 7 June 2016.
  12. ^ "Why did "Skoda Xanthi" become... plain "Xanthi"?" (in Greek). newsauto.gr. 7 June 2016. Retrieved 7 June 2016.
  13. ^ "Xanthi changed its crest and name!". sport24.gr. Retrieved 7 June 2006.
  14. ^ "History of Xanthi's crest" (in Greek). thrakisports.gr. 26 August 2017. Retrieved 26 August 2017.
  15. ^ "Orfeas Xanthi crest and colours". google.gr.
  16. ^ "Aspida Xanthi crest and colours". google.gr.
  17. ^ "Xanthi's home ground" (in Greek). xanthifc.gr.
  18. ^ "Xanthi FC Arena's location" (in Greek). sportslocations.blogspot.com.
  19. ^ "First game in Xanthi FC Arena". whoscored.com. Retrieved 18 September 2004.
  20. ^ "Pelé: "The most modern sports center"". sport-fm.gr. Retrieved 13 May 2005.
  21. ^ "Pelé: "Well done in Xanthi!"". tanea.gr. 13 May 2005. Retrieved 13 May 2005.
  22. ^ "Black day in Xanthi". xanthipress.gr. 16 January 2012.
  23. ^ "Xanthi's home ground renamed" (in Greek). thrakisports.gr. 12 June 2016.
  24. ^ "Athletic center". xanthifc.gr.
  25. ^ "View of Xanthi's training facilities". xanthifc.gr.
  26. ^ "Le Chalet, training center" (in Greek). lechalet.gr.
  27. ^ "The fire of the Le Chalet". sport24.gr.
  28. ^ Abbink, Dinant & Mastrogiannopoulos, Alexander (7 August 2003). "Greece – Final Tables 1959–1999". RSSSF.
  29. ^ Abbink, Dinant & Mastrogiannopoulos, Alexander (18 May 2005). "Greece – List of Second Level Final Tables". RSSSF.
  30. ^ "Team". xanthifc.gr.
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