SPORTS

Money missing from AEK

An audit of cash-strapped AEK soccer club’s financial standing by the State’s financial crimes squad (SDOE) revealed that a sum of close to 9 million euros had gone astray during the reign of its former president Makis Psomiadis. SDOE officials yesterday submitted their investigation’s results to a public prosecutor, who is expected to file charges against the club’s former boss. Amid AEK’s worsening financial situation, coach Dusan Bajevic and his players seem to have finally run out of patience and are threatening to abandon the club. Psomiadis, whose company Ippoventure presently holds a 38 percent stake in AEK, has been locked in long-running negotiations with one of the club’s three main shareholders, the British firm ENIC, which is pressing to purchase the stake. The deal, said to be worth just over 350,000 euros, or 250,000 pounds, has stagnated despite repeated announcements by Psomiadis in recent days that an agreement had been reached. Should the deal finally be signed, ENIC, as a majority shareholder with a 72 percent stake, has promised to immediately inject 1 million euros into the club as a first-round emergency plan before it eventually tries to sell out. Investor interest, however, would be severely undercut by the club’s current financial situation. Players and the team’s coach, Dusan Bajevic, who has battled to keep them on the roster by promising better days ahead, are all owed significant amounts. Yesterday’s news prompted Bajevic to offer an ultimatum for a solution to the financial chaos by next Tuesday, a day after a scheduled shareholder’s general meeting. Otherwise, Bajevic said, he would go. «At this stage, unfortunately, I don’t believe that there is any hope. I have no words for all that has been going on over the past five months… The players are leaving without knowing what to do and where to go. I’ve offered my apologies to them because I lied when I promised that they would be paid, but that what I was told by ENIC and Nikos Stratos,» Bajevic said, referring to a long-serving club official. «The last thing I may do, if its possible and worth the effort, is to sustain the pressure until next Tuesday,» he added. Club officials asked the players to display patience until next week’s general meeting. Meanwhile, both league champion Olympiakos and runner-up Panathinaikos said yesterday they were searching for new coaches.