SPORTS

Nikolaidis seeks stake in old club

Atletico de Madrid’s Greek striker Demis Nikolaidis said he was involved in an effort to buy AEK, his cash-strapped former club, the player’s website said yesterday. Nikolaidis, a 30-year-old international, announced the news a day after AEK coach Dusan Bajevic resigned, plunging the club further into crisis. Nikolaidis played eight seasons at AEK before transferring to Atletico last summer. He sports an AEK tattoo on his left shoulder. «In the past few days, there is in progress an attempt, in which I am taking part, to find a permanent solution to the ownership status at AEK. There will be talks with the current shareholders in the near future,» Nikolaidis told his official Greek-language website. He did not provide any further details and AEK had no comment. AEK’s exact debt is not known but the team reportedly owes creditors, including tax authorities, close to 20 million euros ($24.9 million). ENIC Plc is a major shareholder in the team. Nikolaidis also criticized an organized group of fans whose abusive behavior led to Monday’s resignation of AEK coach Bajevic. The 55-year-old Serbian coach resigned despite pleas from his players and other AEK fans. A former AEK player, Bajevic coached AEK from 1988 to 1996, winning four titles. He has not been forgiven by some fans for joining rival Olympiakos that year, and they were vehemently opposed to his return to AEK in 2002. AEK is currently fourth in Greece’s 16-team first division, 11 points behind leader Olympiakos, and remains in contention for a Champions League spot next season after hammering Iraklis 4-0