IN A move with striking similarities to the fate of Rangers in Scotland last year, AEK Athens are preparing to declare bankruptcy and seek relegation to the third division.
AEK were relegated from the Super League for the first time in their 89-year history in the season just ended. They are in serious financial difficulties and reported to owe €170 million in taxes.
Almost the entire first-team squad was sold off to secure a licence and preserve their top-flight status at the start of the 2012-13 season.
At an emergency shareholders’ meeting yesterday, the club announced they would not play in Greece’s second tier next season and would formally begin the process leading to liquidation when their new board meets on 7 June. “Following today’s extraordinary general meeting of AEK, a new three-member board of directors was elected,” the club said in a statement. “The board will hold a new general meeting on 7 June to discuss the liquidation of the company and the appointment of liquidators.
“Also the club has decided to submit a statement to the Football League organisation that AEK will not participate in the Football League’s second division.”
Oil magnate Dimitris Melissanidis is expected to take control of the club in a rebuilding project that could include the construction of a new stadium. AEK are traditionally Greece’s third biggest club behind Olympiakios Piraeus and Panathinaikos. They were penalised five points for a pitch invasion in their penultimate match which was abandoned as a result.
The infamous Nazi-salute goal celebration of midfielder Giorgos Katidis last month was another blow to AEK’s reputation.