Athlitiki Enosi Lemesou (Greek: Αθλητική Ένωση Λεμεσού, "Athletic Union of Limassol"), commonly known as AEL , is a Cypriot sports club based in the city of Limassol, most famous for its football team.
In 2003, the club was crowned with its first European title after winning the newly established Regional Challenge Cup (South Conference). AEL clinched the title with the astonishing record of 10 victories in 10 games. The victory signalled the beginning of the team's European success.
In October 2014, the club announced the basketball section would be dissolved due to its economical trouble. In August 2015 AEL Limassol announced it would form a basketball team for the following season.
15/10/16 20:00 ΑΕΛ vs Νέα Σαλαμίνα
They also support other clubs within the AEL sports association, particularly the football and volleyball clubs.
In 2011, after disappointingly finishing in seventh-place in the previous campaign, AEL hired Pambos Christodoulou, who had a reputation of steering "modest sides away from relegation", to start the club's rebuilding process. AEL Limassol secured the Cypriot league title for the first time since 1968 on 5 May 2012, ending a 44-year drought without a Cypriot first division title.
AEL is the most successful basketball club in Cyprus and holds the record for the number of national championships and Super Cups won. It is the only basketball club in Cyprus to have ever clinched a European title (FIBA Regional Challenge Cup, 2003).
The club was founded on 4 October 1930, with Stavros Pittas serving as the club's first president. The football section of the club competed in its first game on 6 January 1931 against PSC, winning 6–1 in Limassol. The club won its national championship in 1934 though this is not credited as it is an unofficial title. Later that year, AEL became one of the eight founding members of the Cypriot First Division for the 1934–35 season, the first official league of the country.
The club won its last major trophy in 1989 – before the title success of 2012 – when it defeated city rivals Aris Limassol 3–2 after extra time in final of the Cypriot Cup.
To this day, no other basketball club from Cyprus can claim to have ever been crowned with a European title or to have won five consecutive national championships in a row.
AEL Limassol celebrated its first official title success in 1941, defeating APOEL 4–3 in a two-legged championship play-off. AEL fans had to wait 12 years until tasting title success again, as the club finally became champions of Cyprus again in 1953. AEL would twice repeat this success, winning back-to-back league championships in 1955 and 1956.
AEL plays its home matches at the 14,000-seat Tsirion Stadium, also known as the Olympia Stadium (G.S.O). Tsirion Stadium is a multi-use stadium in Limassol. It is mostly used for football matches and is also the home ground of Apollon Limassol and Aris Limassol. The stadium was built in 1975.
Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
AEL also maintains a women's basketball club. It competes in the Cyprus Women's Basketball Division 1 and is one of the most successful clubs in Cyprus. The club holds the record for the most national championships (14) and most Cypriot Cups won (13).
1R = First round, PR = Preliminary round, Q = Qualifying round, PO = play-off round.
By winning 14 domestic competitions in the 2000s (5 national championships, 3 Cups, and 6 Super Cups), as well as a European crown (Regional Challenge Cup, South Conference 2003), AEL enjoyed the most successful period in its history and retained its title as the "Queen" of Cyprus basketball.
The cycling team was founded in 2001 and the same year became a member of the Limassol District Federation. The first men's cycling team consisted of the following : Ομηρος Χριστοφόρου, Παντελής Τίμινης, Μιχάλης Τσουλόφτας, Ηρόδοτος Κυριάκου, Σωτήρης Σκουταρίδης, Δημήτρης Αραούζος
After winning the Regional Challenge Cup, AEL participated as Cypriot champions the following year in the new FIBA EuroCup and qualified from the group phase to the best of 16. In the group phase, AEL eliminated Peristeri and Paris Basket Racing. The club was eliminated in the round of 16 by Hapoel Tel Aviv.
On 22 October 2013, Angolan manager Lito Vidigal was sacked after just over three months in charge. Bulgarian Ivaylo Petev was appointed as AEL's manager on 25 October, having previously guided Ludogorets Razgrad to promotion to the A Group as well as two A Group titles, a Bulgarian Cup win as well as a triumph in the Bulgarian Super Cup. Petev signed an initial deal to stay at AEL until the end of the 2014–15 season.
The bowling club was founded in 1999 and the same year became a member of the Limassol District Federation. In 2001, the team participated in the Cypriot Championship as one of the two representatives of the Limassol District Federation. In the team won its first trophy by winning the Limassol District Federation Cup and in 2006 its first Championship by winning the Limassol District Federation Championship. The home of the team is the Galaktika Bowling Center.
The 1990s did not bring about much success as the club ended up winning only one title (in 1999), which however was to signal the beginning of another golden era.
Another AEL sport department that currently does not exist is the handball. The team was active for a small period of time but that did not stop the team from adding another trophy to the hundreds that AEL won in various other sports. On 11 June 1989, a day after the football team of the club won the Cypriot Cup, the handball team won the Cypriot Cup in handball by beating Youth Centre Larnaca 23–19 in the final which was played in Lefkotheo Indoor Hal, Nicosia.
Apart from the currently active sports departments, AEL had in the past some other sports departments, which today are defunct. Despite this, these currently not active departments had all won titles for AEL when they were active.
AEL maintains 3 teams for women's volleyball but does not currently have a men's Volleyball team.
For recent transfers, see List of Cypriot football transfers summer 2016
AEL became the dominant team in Cyprus in the 1980s, a decade in which it won 13 titles in total (6 national championships, 5 Cups, and 2 Super Cups).
Join the European football family today! Get involved with games, competitions and much more.