SPORTS

No cash yet for Aris players, just promises from new boss

Hopes of better financial prospects at cash-strapped Thessaloniki club Aris have risen since Saudi Arabian investor Khalid Al Kasimi acquired a majority stake in the club two days ago, but, according to reports, team players have yet to see material evidence of this. Al Kasimi, who promised players that he would deliver a fraction of outstanding fees yesterday, failed to meet the promise, and has rescheduled their payday for today. He told players that they would receive a quarter of fees owed on Tuesday. Aris is one of several first division clubs believed to be struggling to meet State-imposed financial criteria by a nearing July 17 deadline, or suffer relegation to amateur competition. In order to meet this criteria, the club’s new administration will need to settle outstanding taxes and fees owed to IKA, the country’s largest private sector social security fund. The initiative is aimed at reinstating financial order to professional Greek soccer clubs, which have been reeling since last September’s bankruptcy of local pay-TV station Alpha Digital, whose broadcasting revenues were crucial to club budgets. Al Kasimi’s failure to deliver yesterday has unsettled the already jittery climate at the club. Nikos Tsarouchas, the previous administration’s vice president, told State radio ERA Spor yesterday that his board resigned to clear the way for Al Kasimi to act. «We left so that Aris may be saved. Mr Al Kasimi has now assumed responsibility and he is in charge of prospective moves,» Tsarouchas said. The latest incident of turmoil at the club prompted club officials to postpone tomorrow’s trip to Austria, where Aris intends to prepare for the new season. Many of the team’s players have yet to decide whether they will sign on with Aris for the new season, as they adopt a wait-and-see approach over the club’s financial developments. South African player Nasif Morris has already abandoned the club for Panathinaikos.