SPORTS

Deal on transfer of AEK shares is close as Psomiadis relents

AEK minority shareholder Makis Psomiadis, a former president at the soccer club, said yesterday that final-stretch complications in long-running negotiations for the sale of his company Ippoventure’s 38 percent stake in the team to British firm ENIC, one of AEK’s three main shareholders, have been resolved. Psomiadis, in a phone call to ENIC representative Petros Stathis yesterday afternoon, contended that differences had been bridged and that the deal would be signed this morning. Psomiadis has broken similar promises in recent days. Should the deal go ahead, ENIC would secure a majority, 72 percent stake in the Greek team. In the long term, the British firm is expected to improve the debt-ridden club’s financial standing before eventually putting it up for sale. According to early reports on yesterday’s apparent breakthrough, Psomiadis softened his position on several points of friction, the main one being his demand for a pledge by the buyer to not take legal action – both civil and criminal – for any liabilities traced to his period of rule at the club. EPIC has been adamant on the issue of debt accumulated while Psomiadis was in charge ever since the negotiations began. The British firm’s evaluation of AEK’s financial standing is presently based on what has been registered in the company’s books. But ENIC has not ruled out the possibility of discovering new covert liabilities. Should no further stumbling blocks arise in the negotiations, legal representatives of both sides are expected to sign the prospective deal’s contracts today, in London. If not, the club will have taken a further step toward disintegration. AEK’s players are owed substantial amounts. Many have repeatedly threatened to terminate their contracts with the club. ENIC, as majority shareholder should the deal be reached, has promised to immediately inject 1 million euros into the club as a first-round emergency plan. Reports have said that Ippoventure has settled for just over 350,000 euros, or 250,000 pounds, for its 38 percent stake in AEK.