SPORTS

PAOK appoints new coach

Former Romanian international Ilie Dumitrescu has been appointed head coach of PAOK, the Thessaloniki club said yesterday. «We agreed with Dumitrescu for him to coach our team,» the club announced. Dumitrescu, who quit as coach at first-division rivals Kallithea just a few hours before his appointment, has signed an 18-month contract and replaces Giorgos Kostikos, who resigned on Monday. Kostikos stepped down after two straight away losses, including one at newcomer Larissa. The Thessaloniki club, historically one of Greece’s biggest, went into the new season with high hopes but currently lies sixth in the 16-team standings with 30 points. Breakaway leader Olympiakos is on 54 points, nine ahead of second-place AEK. Dumitrescu, PAOK’s third coach this season, agreed to join the Thessaloniki squad after breaking his one-year contract with struggling Kallithea. The 37-year-old’s departure caused considerable anger at Kallithea, who are struggling to avoid relegation. The club issued a statement condemning Dumitrescu, who only joined them three-and-a-half months ago. «We want to denounce the unprofessional and indecent behavior of Ilie Dumitrescu against our team,» Kallithea said in the statement. «He chose the most critical period of the season to play around with the team’s future and leave the club.» Dumitrescu’s replacement at Kallithea is the former Panionios coach Georgos Vasakas. Dumitrescu will prepare PAOK for Sunday’s game in Thessaloniki against league leader Olympiakos. The 37-year-old Dumitrescu had previously worked for AEK and last-place Akratitos. He has never been sacked from a coaching position. In another first-division coaching change, Panionios have appointed Vangelis Vlachos to take over from the Slovakian Josef Bubenko, who also quit on Monday. (AP, Reuters, Kathimerini)