Top soccer clubs face relegation

Two of Greece’s top four soccer clubs face severe penalties for failing to pay their debts to foreign players, following representations yesterday from the International Football Association (FIFA) to the Hellenic Football Federation (EPO). This adds to the woes of professional Greek clubs which are already in financial turmoil following the collapse, at the beginning of this season in September, of lucrative television deals. According to an announcement by EPO, AEK Athens and PAOK Thessaloniki, second and fourth, respectively, in the first-division standings, must settle their debts within 30 days. Otherwise, they will lose six points – the equivalent of two victories. If, even after being docked, they fail to meet a new deadline, they will be relegated to the second division. A third team, second-division Olympiakos Volos, faces similar action. Meanwhile, AEK strongman Chrysostomos «Makis» Psomiadis was charged with verbally abusing and threatening his estranged star striker, Demis Nikolaidis.