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Nikolaidis sues AEK strongman Psomiadis for ‘abusive and threatening behavior’

The latest stunning developments at AEK – on several fronts – have shaken the grip of strongman Makis Psomiadis, whose future at the club now appears grim. Star striker Demis Nikolaidis, who is worshipped by fans but has distanced himself from the club in recent days, yesterday launched legal proceedings against Psomiadis after a violent incident at the player’s home late on Tuesday night. Reports said Psomiadis, accompanied by eight bodyguards, made an impromptu visit to the player’s Filothei home during which he allegedly threatened to «smash» Nikolaidis’s legs so that he could not play again. Nikolaidis has filed a law suit for abusive and threatening behavior, and also requested the nullification of his contract from EPAE, the association of professional Greek soccer clubs. In other related developments, also yesterday, Sports Minister Giorgos Lianis said he will issue orders to a sports prosecutor calling for Psomiadis’s removal from the club’s ranks within 10 days. Should the club not comply, it will be ousted from the league, Lianis added. Psomiadis, a minority shareholder at AEK, is barred from holding an official post due to previous legal convictions, including a 12-year sentence for fraud, which he is appealing. On a third worrying front for Psomiadis, AEK’s coach Dusan Bajevic, who had confided to close friends that he was set to resign, only decided to stay on after being informed of Nikolaidis’s action. «We’re going to carry on united. I don’t know whether the State or somebody else will provide a solution,» Bajevic told reporters. Worse still, the club’s players issued a joint statement in support of Nikolaidis. Arriving at the Attica Police Headquarters through a backdoor entrance to avoid the cluster of journalists present, the player spent two hours providing his testimony of Tuesday night’s ordeal to Greek police. He made strong remarks to the press on his way out. «The problem is not that Psomiadis came to my home and threatened me. The problem is that Greek soccer allows Psomiadis, his bodyguards, and his dodgy ways, to represent the sport,» Nikolaidis said. «Psomiadis is destroying my career, the careers of my fellow players, and is also shattering the team and the dreams of its supporters. He is intruding on my personal life and obliging me to go about accompanied by guards, something I can’t deal with. As a player and Greek citizen I refuse to have any ties with Makis Psomiadis,» the player added. Responding to Nikolaidis’s drastic action, the AEK club issued a statement summoning the player to account for his initiatives next Monday morning at the team’s headquarters. The club’s statement criticized Nikolaidis for inciting tension within the club’s ranks during a crucial phase of competition. Expressing solidarity with Nikolaidis, AEK’s players issued a joint statement in which they expressed support for him. «We feel the need to condemn the unacceptable ordeal of our fellow player Demis Nikolaidis. We stand by his side but are obliged, as is our coach, to carry on with our efforts and protect the club’s history,» the statement read.