NEWS

AEK boss fouls striker Demis

AEK strongman Makis Psomiadis’s preference for strong-arm tactics is finally set to rebound against him. Demis Nikolaidis, the Athens team’s star striker and the idol of its hard-core fans, is expected to ask today to be released from his contract and to sue Psomiadis for trespassing on his home and attempting violence in an incident on Tuesday night. If Nikolaidis leaves AEK, as he seems determined to do now, he will follow in the steps of teammate Vassilis Tsartas, who was ostracized after asking for 1.2 million euros in back pay. Both play for Greece and both have financial disputes with AEK. Psomiadis had personally phoned AEK players late on Tuesday to see if they were at home, as he has demanded, or out partying. Receiving no answer from Nikolaidis, he set out for the player’s home in Filothei shortly before midnight, accompanied, for unknown reasons, by eight bodyguards. According to the player, when Nikolaidis answered the door, Psomiadis berated him for not answering the phone and started threatening him. As Nikolaidis shouted back, the 2-meter (6-foot 7-inch) Psomiadis grabbed Nikolaidis – generously listed as a foot shorter than Psomiadis – and tried to slam him into a wall. Nikolaidis’s girlfriend, pop star Despina Vandi and three other friends intervened, as did Psomiadis’s bodyguards. When he saw there were other people present, Psomiadis, recently released from prison pending an appeal against a 12-year sentence for fraud, tried to mollify Nikolaidis, who threw him out of the house. A car with four of Psomiadis’s bodyguards remained outside, prompting the player to call the police at 4 a.m. Nikolaidis did not attend training yesterday and released a statement explaining why. AEK replied by calling on him to explain his absence.