AEK loses its European spot

Transfer ban for six Super League clubs due to debts By George Georgakopoulos

AEK will not be playing in Europe next season, nor will it be able to sign to any players except for Greeks younger than 22 years old, as the Athens club plus five others from the top flight were penalized on Thursday for financial irregularities.

Along with AEK, Aris, Panionios, PAS Giannina, Kerkyra and OFI Crete have failed to secure a license for transfers or contract extensions for next season due to debts to former players and coaches, other clubs and the state. The decision was taken following the rejection by the Hellenic Football Federation?s Appeals Committee of the appeals by the six Super League clubs regarding the league?s original verdict.

All six clubs will therefore have to hold on to their existing players that still have contracts for next season, or sign young Greek players to fill their rosters.

The decision has an additional consequence for AEK, as the federation will inform European soccer's governing body UEFA about it, resulting in AEK's exclusion from the Europa League. Its place in Europe will now be taken by Asteras Tripolis.

Panathinaikos, on the other hand, had its appeal upheld and was granted a full license that will also see it compete in next season's Champions League qualifiers. This was thanks to a last-ditch effort to collect cash and pay its debts, which was led by Yiannis Alafouzos, owner of the Skai Media Group.

AEK and Panathinaikos were brought to UEFA?s attention over the matter in February, but Panathinaikos will almost certainly escape a ban after securing its domestic license.