Soccer team boss pays price for heavy debt

Reviled by his own team’s fans for mismanagement and deeply in debt to his players, the beleaguered owner of first-division soccer club Aris Thessaloniki has fallen victim to a crucial mistake, according to reports yesterday; he failed to pay his bodyguard. On Thursday, Habos Yamakidis’s patience was exhausted, the Filathlos sports daily said. The bodyguard – who is listed on the company’s board as an adviser – visited Aris’s owner and chairman, Yiannis Zahoudanis, in his Thessaloniki hotel and allegedly beat him up. Zahoudanis bought Aris a year ago from insurance tycoon Dimitris Kondominas. The team ended this year’s championship in ninth position, losing 5-1 at home to league winner Olympiakos in its last game of the season. Aris fans rioted on several occasions this year, calling for Zahoudanis to pay the team’s players and step down. The issue will not just reflect Simitis’s judgment. The premier has been called upon to make one of those decisions which reveals the true personality of political men and shows whether they have the ability, the courage, and the ethos to raise themselves above the interests of the «power professionals» who were shaken by the health minister’s decision and want to see him out of government.