Tony Popovic has announced his departure from Perth Glory FC with the coach set to join Greek Australians Bill Papas and Arthur Diles at Xanthi FC in Greece.
Popovic told the club on Wednesday morning he was activating a release clause in his contract allowing him to take up an offer to coach a team in Europe.
The 47-year-old former Socceroo joined Glory in 2018 and guided the club to its maiden Hyundai A-League Premiership and second Grand Final in his debut season at the helm.
“I had a wonderful two years, winning the Premiers’ Plate being a fantastic highlight, along with playing in front of a sell-out crowd at Optus Stadium in the Grand Final and being a part of the club’s first foray into the AFC Champions League,” Popovic said.
“An opportunity has now come for me to pursue in Europe, but I’m very thankful to everyone for making my time in Perth so enjoyable.”
Popovic will join Sydney Olympic President Bill Papas’ new team in Greece, Xanthi FC, after the Greek Australian reached an agreement with current owner Christos Panopoulos.
Papas reportedly overcame the last hurdle with the current owners after they agreed on a price for the club, should they play in the Super League League next season and not be relegated.
Popovic will also join Greek Australian Western Sydney Wanders youth coach Arthur Diles. Diles undertook the youth head coaching job a few years ago, being part of Western Sydney Wanderers for about 5 years.
Western Sydney Wanderers announced his departure in August, with CEO John Tsatsimas wishing him “all the best in his new coaching appointment overseas”.
The link up between Popovic, Papas and Diles is set to be an interesting move, especially at a club that has struggled this season and is at risk of relegation. Sources have revealed that Popovic will be given a large reign at the Greek club, assisted by his coaching staff which will be made up of Greek and Australian professionals.
“The opportunity to work with an Australian owner, I think that weighed heavily in the decision,” said Glory chief executive Tony Pignata. “The most interesting aspect was the way he could go and set this club up and coach in Europe.”