SPORTS

AEK strongman Makis Psomiadis fears challenge by three main shareholders

AEK soccer club strongman Makis Psomiadis, the majority shareholder barred from holding an official post due to previous legal convictions, is preparing for an end-of-year power battle with board members at the cash-strapped team’s general shareholders meeting on Tuesday. The board will vote on whether to approve the club’s 2002 financial statement. Burdened by the growing threat of player protests and walk-outs over unpaid salaries, Psomiadis is reportedly making efforts to postpone the December 31 meeting by a month. Star midfielder Vassilis Tsartas has already distanced himself, while striker Demis Nikolaidis, who is worshipped by fans, has demanded some 320,000 euros in outstanding payments by January 10. He will have the right to take legal action should the demand not be met. At this stage, Psomiadis, like the leaders of most Greek clubs, appears unable to honor existing contracts with players. Greek clubs are still reeling from September’s collapse of the Alpha Digital pay-TV channel which cost them an estimated 35 million euros in annual revenues. AEK’s three other major shareholders, ENIC, NetMed and the amateur AEK Sports Club, have yet to disclose their intentions, but well-informed insiders claim that all three will vote against the financial statement. Should they act in unison, the three shareholders would pose a serious threat to Psomiadis’s leadership.