By George Georgakopoulos
Popular Thessaloniki club Aris will not play in the second division this season, following its relegation from the Super League in spring, but will go straight to the third division, the top tier of amateur soccer in Greece.
A court decision, announced on Wednesday morning, that dissolved the temporary administration of the team, led by Lambros Skordas, leads Aris to the resolution of its professional soccer club. That means the Yellows will now feature in one of the groups of the third division, following the path chosen last year by AEK Athens.
Aris, a three-time Greek champion, has had huge financial problems that in the last couple of years that were also reflected on the pitch and forced the Thessaloniki club to finish last in last season’s Super League.
The double relegation and resolution of the professional club comes on the centenary of Aris, but is also relieving the team from the huge debts it had accumulated in recent years.
Aris, which played in the Greek Cup final just four years ago, has had a glorious history in the UEFA Cup having eliminated such great clubs as Atletico Madrid, Austria Vienna and Real Zaragoza in the last decade, and has boasted big coaching names on its bench such as Hector Raul Cuper and Alketas Panagoulias.
The club’s last league title was in 1946, but it added the Greek Cup of 1970 to its trophy cabinet before going under the shadow of crosstown rival PAOK – Thessaloniki’s sole remaining representative in the Super League.
Joining Aris on the way down to the third division will also be another historic club from Macedonia, Doxa Dramas, that only a couple of years ago featured in the top flight.