The club was formed as POEL (Greek: ΠΟΕΛ; Ποδοσφαιρικός Όμιλος Ελλήνων Λευκωσίας, Podosferikos Omilos Ellinon Lefkosias, Football Club of Greeks of Nicosia) on 8 November 1926. The club's formation came about when a group of forty people, with a common vision, met and set the foundations for creating a football club that would represent the Greek residents of the capital and express their deep desire for Cyprus' incorporation (enosis) into Greece. The meeting took place at a traditional confectionery, owned by Charalambos Hadjioannou, downtown in Ledra Street and the first president of the club was Giorgos Poulias. The first clubhouse was the "Athenians Club" (Λέσχη Αθηναίων) at the end of Ledra Street.
After a journey to the football club in Alexandria, Egypt in 1927 the General Assembly of 1928 decided the players showed that they were not just good footballers but also excellent track and field athletes. Hence it was decided to create a track and field team in addition to the football team. The name APOEL was adopted to reflect this, with the 'A' standing for 'Athletic'. Soon after a volleyball team and a table tennis team were established.
Cyprus did not have any country-wide league until 1932. Football clubs of the time played friendly matches only. In 1932, Pezoporikos Larnaca organised an unofficial league, the first island-wide league, and it was won by APOEL after defeating AEL Limassol in the final by 4–0. In 1934, there was a disagreement between Trust and Anorthosis Famagusta on the organisation of the fourth unofficial league. APOEL and AEL Limassol organised a meeting for the foundation of a country-wide governing body and an official country-wide league. The meeting took place in APOEL's clubhouse on 23 September and the establishment of the Cyprus Football Association was agreed. Two years later the APOEL football team celebrated its first championship title of the official Cyprus football league. APOEL also won the championship for the following four years, making this a very successful period for the club with 5 consecutive championships (1936–1940).
Politics, however, would soon spark conflict within the team. On 23 May 1948 the board of the club send a telegram to the Hellenic Association of Amateur Athletics (Greek: Σ.Ε.Γ.Α.Σ.), with the opportunity of the annual Panhellenic Track and Field Competition, which included wishes that "the rebellion" is finished. Several leftist club members perceived the telegram as a political comment on the Greek Civil War and they distanced themselves from the club. A few days later, on 4 June 1948, they founded AC Omonia, which until today is the archrival of APOEL and there has been a traditional animosity between the fans of the two teams.
More conflicts led to further struggles for APOEL. Athletes belonging to the club frequently participated in national clashes. During the 1955–59 national uprising against the British, many of APOEL's athletes and members of the club were active members of EOKA (the National Organisation of Cypriot Fighters), the most outstanding example being the club's track and field athlete Michalakis Karaolis who was hanged by the British colonial authorities. During this period the football team had their closest brush with relegation as most football players were actively taking part in the national struggle.
The football team were quickly back to full strength and made their debut in European Competitions (the first not only for APOEL but for any Cypriot team) in 1963, when they faced the Norwegian team SK Gjøvik-Lyn in the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup. Two victories for APOEL over both legs (6–0, 1–0) marked APOEL's successful European debut, as they became the first Hellenic team to progress in a European Competition. The next round against the tournament winners Sporting Clube de Portugal met APOEL with their heaviest defeat ever (16–1) and put an end to APOEL's European debut.
Other triumphs followed in the early 1970s. In 1973 the domestic double was achieved with coach Panos Markovic. The following year APOEL became the only Cypriot team to avoid relegation from the pan-Hellenic Greek Championship. That was also the last season that the Cypriot champion played in the Greek Football League the following year due to the volatile situation in Cyprus during 1974.
The 1980s were a relatively fruitless period for APOEL. They have only won two championships (1980,1986), one cup (1984) and two super cups (1984, 1986). In 1986 APOEL was drawn against Beşiktaş J.K. for the second round of the European Cup. This was the first time that a Cypriot team faced a Turkish team in a European football competition. The Cypriot government prohibited APOEL from playing against the Turkish team, so APOEL was punished with two years disqualification from any UEFA competition. This penalty was later reduced to one-year.
The 1990s were a successful decade for APOEL with 3 championships (1990, 1992, 1996), 5 cups (1993, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1999) and 4 super cups (1992, 1993, 1996, 1999). The most successful season in the 1990s was 1995–96 in which APOEL achieved a celebratory double while remaining undefeated in the league. The basketball team won a double on the same season, making this the ideal season for a 70th anniversary celebration.
APOEL Football (Public) Ltd was established in May 1997, after the decision of APOEL committee. This had a significant effect on the club because it separated the activities of the football team from those of the sports club. The formation of the company was necessitated by the financial difficulties the team faced at the time. The company began its operations with a capital of CY £600,000.
APOEL is the most successful football team in Cyprus in the 2000s. The last fifteen years, the club won nine championships (2002, 2004, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016), four cups (2006, 2008, 2014, 2015) and six super cups (2002, 2004, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2013). In season 2013–14, APOEL achieved a historical domestic treble by winning all the Cypriot competitions trophies, the league, the cup and the super cup. The next season (2014–15), APOEL won their second consecutive double, after winning again the championship and the cup.
APOEL's first great run in European competitions came in 2002, when the team was knocked out on the third qualifying round of the UEFA Champions League, entered the UEFA Cup and reached the second round of the competition. The following years, APOEL qualified three times for the UEFA Champions League group stages (2009–10, 2011–12, 2014–15) and managed to reach the quarter-finals in the 2011–12 season. The team also participated in the group stages of the 2013–14, 2015–16 & 2016–17 UEFA Europa League, managing to reach the knockout phase of the competition during 2016–17 season.
In the 2002–03 season, the football team embarked on an impressive run, playing ten games before being knocked out from the European competitions. The team participated in the 2002–03 UEFA Champions League and after eliminating Flora Tallinn (0–0 away draw, 1–0 home win) and NK Maribor (1–2 away loss, 4–2 home win), was knocked out by AEK Athens (2–3 home loss, 0–1 away loss) in the third qualifying round. So, they entered the UEFA Cup on the first round and after eliminating Grazer AK (2–0 home win, 1–1 away draw) they advanced until the second round when they were knocked out by Hertha BSC Berlin (0–1 home loss, 0–4 away loss).
The first big success of the club in European competitions came on season 2009–10, when the team reached the group stages of the 2009–10 UEFA Champions League for the first time, by eliminating EB/Streymur (2–0 away win, 3–0 home win), FK Partizan (2–0 home win, 0–1 away loss) and F.C. Copenhagen (0–1 away loss, 3–1 home win) in the play-off round. APOEL were drawn in Group D against Chelsea F.C., FC Porto and Atlético Madrid. APOEL drew 0–0 against Atlético Madrid in the first game at Vicente Calderón, lost 0–1 from Chelsea F.C. at GSP stadium on matchday 2, lost 2–1 from FC Porto at Dragão in the third match and lost again 0–1 from FC Porto at GSP Stadium on matchday 4. In the fifth match of the group APOEL drew with Atlético Madrid 1–1 at GSP Stadium and on matchday 6, APOEL drew with Chelsea F.C. at Stamford Bridge. So, APOEL finished fourth having equal (3) points with the eventual UEFA Europa League winner Atlético Madrid, but failed to qualify to UEFA Europa League, because of the away goal that Atlético Madrid had scored in Nicosia.
APOEL's greatest success in European competitions came on season 2011–12. Two years after its first participation, APOEL qualified again for the UEFA Champions League group stages by eliminating Skënderbeu Korçë (2–0 away win, 4–0 home win), Slovan Bratislava (0–0 home draw, 2–0 away win) and Wisła Kraków (0–1 away loss, 3–1 home win) in the play-off round. APOEL drawn in Group G, alongside FC Porto, Shakhtar Donetsk and Zenit St. Petersburg. On matchday 1, APOEL won 2–1 against Zenit St. Petersburg at GSP Stadium and secured its first ever victory in the UEFA Champions League group stage. On matchday 2, APOEL held Shakhtar Donetsk to a 1–1 draw at the Donbass Arena and in the third match they drew 1–1 with FC Porto at Dragão. On matchday 4, APOEL won 2–1 against FC Porto at GSP Stadium and on the next matchday they made history and reached the last 16 of the UEFA Champions League by holding Zenit St. Petersburg to a 0–0 draw in Petrovsky Stadium. Eventually, APOEL reached the last 16 as a group winner, despite losing 0–2 at home from Shakhtar Donetsk on the last matchday. In the last 16, APOEL was drawn against Olympique Lyonnais. Lyon won 1–0 in the first leg at Stade de Gerland, but in the second leg at GSP Stadium APOEL won 1–0, sending the match to penalties where they won 4–3, reaching the quarter-finals for the first time. In the quarter-finals, APOEL hosted Real Madrid in the first leg, but were defeated 0–3 by the Spanish giants. In the second leg at Santiago Bernabéu, APOEL managed to score twice but Real Madrid won by 5–2 and reached the semi-finals with an aggregate score of 8–2.
APOEL began their 2013–14 European campaign in the third qualifying round of the 2013–14 UEFA Champions League against Slovenian side NK Maribor. In the first leg, the two teams drew 1–1 at GSP Stadium, but in the second leg at Slovenia, APOEL only managed a goalless draw and eliminated by NK Maribor on away goals rule after a 1–1 aggregate score.
After being eliminated from the UEFA Champions League, APOEL dropped down into the UEFA Europa League play-off round, and drawn against Belgian side Zulte Waregem. The first leg was held at the Constant Vanden Stock Stadium in Brussels and ended in a 1–1 draw. In the second leg, APOEL lost 1–2 at GSP Stadium and Belgians went through 3–2 on aggregate. Despite losing to Zulte Waregem in the play-off round, APOEL reinstated in Europa League replacing the Turkish side Fenerbahçe who were banned because of the match-fixing case related to the 2010–11 Süper Lig title. APOEL were selected by a random drawing among all the losing teams from the play-off round and drawn in Group F, alongside Bordeaux, Eintracht Frankfurt and Maccabi Tel Aviv. APOEL began their group stage adventure with a goalless draw at Bloomfield Stadium against Maccabi Tel Aviv on 19 September 2013. On matchday 2, APOEL were beaten 0–3 at GSP Stadium by German side Eintracht Frankfurt. On matchday 3, APOEL were stunned by a last-minute Bordeaux winner, as they went down to a 2–1 defeat at Stade Chaban-Delmas in France. On matchday 4, APOEL won 2–1 against French side Bordeaux at Nicosia’s GSP Stadium and secured its first ever victory in the UEFA Europa League group stages. On matchday 5, APOEL were held to a goalless draw by Israeli side Maccabi Tel Aviv at GSP Stadium and remained in third place of Group F, three points behind second-placed Maccabi Tel Aviv. APOEL’s Europa League adventure was concluded at Commerzbank-Arena with a 2–0 loss to Group F winners Eintracht Frankfurt on 12 December 2013. Eintracht completed the group stage of the competition on top of the Group F standings with 15 points, Maccabi Tel Aviv ended second with 11 points, APOEL ended in third place with five points, while Bordeaux were at the bottom with just three points.
Three years after their surprising run to the quarter-finals of the 2011–12 UEFA Champions League, APOEL qualified again for the UEFA Champions League group stages, for the third time in their history. They eliminated HJK Helsinki in the third qualifying round by drawing 2–2 at Finland and winning 2–0 at home and trashed Aalborg BK in the play-off round by drawing 1–1 at Denmark and winning 4–0 at home. APOEL were drawn in Group F alongside Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain and Ajax.
APOEL opened their Champions League campaign with a 1–0 defeat against Barcelona at Camp Nou thanks to a Gerard Piqué's goal, but left the Catalan capital with all the plaudits following a stellar display which so nearly earned a historic result. On matchday 2, Gustavo Manduca cancelled out Lucas Andersen's opener to secure a first Group F point for APOEL, after an 1–1 draw against Ajax at GSP Stadium. On matchday 3, despite another excellent display against one of the continent’s strongest sides, APOEL were left bitterly disappointed as they went down to a 0–1 home defeat at the hands of Paris Saint-Germain following a late Edinson Cavani goal, just three minutes before the end. On matchday 4, APOEL fell to a 1–0 defeat against Paris Saint-Germain at Parc des Princes, as Edinson Cavani was again the difference between the two teams, scoring the only goal of the match after just 56 seconds. On matchday 5, Barcelona proved too much for APOEL as the Catalan giants cruised to a 4–0 win in a night that belonged to Lionel Messi as his hat-trick in Nicosia made him the UEFA Champions League's all-time top scorer on 74 goals. On matchday 6, APOEL suffered a 4–0 defeat to Ajax at Amsterdam Arena in the battle for third place and were sent out of European competitions after finishing fourth in Group F with just one point.
APOEL began their 2015–16 European campaign in the second qualifying round of the 2015–16 UEFA Champions League, eliminating FK Vardar on away goals rule after a 0–0 draw at home and a 1–1 away draw. In the third qualifying round they eliminated Danish champions FC Midtjylland again on away goals rule after a 2–1 away win and a 0–1 home defeat. APOEL were eliminated by Kazakh champions FC Astana in the play-off round, losing 0–1 at Kazakhstan and drawing 1–1 at Nicosia.
After being eliminated in the play-off round of the Champions League, APOEL were automatically transferred to the group stage of the UEFA Europa League, drawn in Group K alongside Schalke 04, Sparta Prague and Asteras Tripoli. APOEL's Europa League campaign got off to bad start as they suffered a 3–0 defeat by Schalke 04 at GSP Stadium in Nicosia. On matchday 2, APOEL fell to a second straight defeat, going down to a 2–0 loss to Sparta Prague at Generali Arena. On 22 October 2015, APOEL came from behind to earn their first points in Group K after beating Asteras Tripoli 2–1 at GSP Stadium, thanks to goals by Fernando Cavenaghi and Carlão. On matchday 4, APOEL's chances of making the knockout phase of the Europa League were dealt a huge blow as they suffered a 2–0 defeat at the hands of Asteras Tripoli at Theodoros Kolokotronis Stadium. On 26 November 2015, a late Schalke 04 winner at Veltins-Arena was enough to knock APOEL out of UEFA Europa League. APOEL ended their Europa League group stage campaign with a 1–3 home defeat by Sparta Prague, despite Fernando Cavenaghi's early opener and finished bottom of Group K with just three points.
The football department of APOEL is legally owned by APOEL Football (Public) Ltd (Greek: ΑΠΟΕΛ Ποδόσφαιρο (Δημόσια) Λτδ), a public limited company, since 1997. The company's main activity is the management, operation and commercial exploitation of APOEL Football club. The company owns all the rights for the football department under an agreement with APOEL sports club and pays the club CY£100,000 annually for the privilege. The agreement between the company and the club is renewed every five years. The company has 1745 shareholders and besides the football club, also maintains a team boutique (Orange Shop), the APOELFC (Greek: ΑΠΟΕΛFC) magazine and the apoelfc.com.cy website among others.
APOEL's youth academy is a separate legal entity from the football club. They are responsible for the under 21 teams for football, basketball and volleyball and they have their own board of directors and budget. The football academy has produced many quality Cypriot players over the years. Players started from the academy and had great contribution APOEL are: Marinos Satsias, Constantinos Charalambides, Nektarios Alexandrou, Michalis Morfis and Marios Antoniades. All of them have also competed at international level with the Cyprus national football team while Charalambides and Alexandrou have played for teams in the Greek Super League in the past.
APOEL's U19 team participated for the first time in the UEFA Youth League group stage during 2014–15 season, drawn in Group F alongside Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain and Ajax. APOEL managed to collect only one point after drawing 0–0 with Ajax at home and lost their other five Group F matches. They lost twice to Barcelona (2–3 at home, 0–3 away), lost twice to Paris Saint-Germain (0–3 at home, 0–6 away) and also lost to Ajax 1–4 away, finishing fourth in their group.
The next season, APOEL's U19 team participated again in the 2015–16 UEFA Youth League. This time they competed in the first round of the Domestic Champions Path, being drawn to face Puskás Akadémia from Hungary. After a dramatic 3–3 draw in the first leg in Nicosia, APOEL U19 suffered a heavy 6–1 loss in Felcsút and were eventually eliminated.
APOEL's colours are blue and yellow. Blue symbolizes Greece and yellow symbolizes Byzantium. The logo is a blue and yellow shield with the name of the club written diagonally in blue. After the club won their 20th championship (2008–09 season), two stars were added above the logo to symbolize the 20 championship titles (one star for every ten championships won). Other than that, the badge has remained the same since the establishment of the club.
APOEL's home ground since 23 October 1999, is the 22,859 seater GSP Stadium. It is the largest stadium in Cyprus and they share it with local rivals Omonia and Olympiakos Nicosia.
Before moving to GSP Stadium, APOEL used as home grounds the Makario Stadium (from 1978 until 1999) and the old GSP Stadium (prior to 1978).
APOEL is the most popular team in Cyprus. APOEL fans are right-wing in their majority but there are no strong ties between the organised fans and any political party. That wasn't always the case but during the past years they have actively avoided association with any political party.
The main supporter group is PAN.SY.FI (Greek: ΠΑΝ.ΣΥ.ΦΙ). PAN.SY.FI was founded in 1979 and has branches in all major cities in Cyprus and also in other countries. The PAN.SY.FI (and most ultras) wear orange jackets (or T-shirts). The first game they sported the orange jackets was during the first-round game of the 1992–93 championship against AEL Limassol in Makario Stadium. APOEL have reserved the shirt number 79 in honour of PAN.SY.FI. (APOEL Ultras), to denote the year the group was founded, 1979.
The club record for ticket sales in a single season is 141,268 (15 matches, home league games only) during the 2010–11 season. The club record for average league games attendance in a single season is 9,582 (13 matches, home league games only) during the 2012–13 season. The club's season tickets sales record was set on season 2014–15, in which more than 8,000 season tickets were sold.
APOEL holds the record of the highest home attendance for Cyprus First Division in the game against Omonia with 23,043 tickets for 2002–03 season. The match was held at GSP Stadium on 7 December 2002 and ended in a goalless draw.
The club holds also the record of the highest attendance of a Cypriot team for a European Competition game with 22,701 tickets in the match against Olympique Lyonnais for the return leg of the 2011–12 UEFA Champions League last 16. The match which was held on 7 March 2012 at GSP Stadium of Nicosia ended with a 1–0 win for APOEL after extra time and 4–3 win on penalties.
On 8 December 2009, APOEL fans created another impressive record. More than 6,000 fans of the team travelled to London at Stamford Bridge for the last match of the 2009–10 Champions League group D against Chelsea F.C. which ended in a 2–2 draw. This is the biggest number of fans of any Cypriot team that had ever travelled away from Cyprus. A similar record created on 14 February 2012, in APOEL's participation to the 2011–12 UEFA Champions League last 16, when more than 5,000 APOEL fans travelled in France to support their team against Olympique Lyonnais. The match was held at Stade de Gerland and Olympique Lyonnais took a slender advantage into the second leg by winning 1–0. Also, on 4 April 2012, about 4,000 APOEL fans travelled to Santiago Bernabéu in Madrid, to support APOEL against Real Madrid for the return leg of the 2011–12 UEFA Champions League quarter-finals, in a match which Real Madrid won by 5–2.
During 2009–10 season APOEL sold in total 244,977 tickets for its home matches in all competitions (Championship, Cup, Champions League), which is the biggest number of tickets sold by a Cypriot club in a single season.
The Nicosia derby (or the Derby of the eternal enemies) refers to the Nicosia's local derby, football matches played between APOEL and Omonia. It is the classic rivalry of the Cypriot football, as the two teams are the most successful and most popular football clubs of the island. The rivalry is also indicative of social, cultural and political differences and originates from 1948 when the board of APOEL sent a telegram to the Hellenic Association of Amateur Athletics (Greek: Σ.Ε.Γ.Α.Σ.), with the opportunity of the annual Panhellenic Track and Field Competition stating its wish for the "communist mutiny" to be ended. Club's players considering this action as a political comment on the Greek Civil War distanced themselves or were expelled from APOEL and a month later they formed Omonia. The first derby was played on 12 December 1953 and ended in a goalless draw.
Last Update: 1 February 2017
Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
For recent transfers, see List of Cypriot football transfers summer 2016.
Also, see List of Cypriot football transfers winter 2016–17.
Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
Loan deals expire at the end of 2016–17 season
Source: apoelfc.com.cyOfficial shirt sponsor – Pari-Match
Official sport clothing provider – Nike
Official host broadcaster – Cytavision
Official back of shirt sponsor – 3CX
Official shorts sponsor – DIMCO LTD
Last Update: 21 April 2016
APOEL has had numerous presidents over the course of their history. Since the establishment of APOEL Football Ltd, the presidents of the board of directors of the company (chairmen) have assumed all presidential duties for the football club. Here are complete lists of both:
List of former players with national team appearances or having won multiple titles with the club:Cypriot Championship
Winners (25) (record):
1935–36, 1936–37, 1937–38, 1938–39, 1939–40, 1946–47, 1947–48, 1948–49, 1951–52, 1964–65, 1972–73, 1979–80, 1985–86, 1989–90, 1991–92, 1995–96, 2001–02, 2003–04, 2006–07, 2008–09, 2010–11, 2012–13, 2013–14, 2014–15, 2015–16
Winners (21) (record):
1936–37, 1940–41, 1946–47, 1950–51, 1962–63, 1967–68, 1968–69, 1972–73, 1975–76, 1977–78, 1978–79, 1983–84, 1992–93, 1994–95, 1995–96, 1996–97, 1998–99, 2005–06, 2007–08, 2013–14, 2014–15
Cypriot Super Cup
1963, 1984, 1986, 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 2002, 2004, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2013
Last update: 16 February 2017Record League win: 17–1 vs Aris Limassol (4 June 1967) — 1966–67
Record League defeat: 6–1 vs Nea Salamina (2 May 1998) — 1997–98
Record European competition win: 6–0 vs SK Gjøvik-Lyn (8 September 1963) — UEFA Cup Winners' Cup, Preliminary round 1st leg, 1963–64
000000000000000000000000000006–0 vs HB Tórshavn (28 August 1997) — UEFA Cup Winners' Cup, Qualifying round 2nd leg, 1997–98
Record European competition defeat: 16–1 vs Sporting CP (13 November 1963) — UEFA Cup Winners' Cup, 1st round 1st leg, 1963–64
Most consecutive League games unbeaten: 34 — From 18 September 1946 to 23 November 1949
Most consecutive League games won: 16 — From 21 December 2008 to 11 April 2009
Most League points in a season:
3 for win: 83
, 2015–16 (full season) — 69
, 2008–09 (regular season)
2 for win: 51
Most League goals in a season: 91, 2015–16
Record average League home attendance: 9,582 — 2012–13
Record League home attendance: 23,043 vs Omonia (7 December 2002) — 2002–03
Record European competition home attendance: 22,701 vs Olympique Lyonnais (7 March 2012) — UEFA Champions League, Last-16 2nd leg, 2011–12
Most League appearances for club: 371 — Yiannos Ioannou
Most League goals for club : 191 — Yiannos Ioannou
Most European competitions appearances for club: 89 — Nuno Morais
Most European competitions goals for club : 9 — Aílton José Almeida
Last update: 16 February 2017
#Q = #preliminary, #R = #round, PO = play-offs, G = Group stage, R32 = Round of 32, R16 = last 16, QF = quarter-finals
1: Both matches played in Portugal.
2: Both matches played in Germany.
3: Both matches played in Belgium.
4: APOEL reinstated in the Europa League by random draw after Fenerbahçe's exclusion from the UEFA competitions due to match-fixing.