Greek international Vassilios Tsartas has become the second AEK Athens FC player to settle his differences with the club and return to the team following the resignation last Friday of majority shareholder Chrisostomos 'Makis' Psomiadis and his board.
Seven days after walking out on AEK, the 30-year-old midfielder has made his peace with the club's new board of directors and signed a contract until the end of the season. Tsartas had become a free agent last Thursday when the Hellenic National League (EPAE) agreed to the former Sevilla FC player's request to have his contract cancelled after a pay dispute with club owner Psomiadis. Tsartas successfully sued AEK for €450,000 in unpaid wages and bonuses.
Back for good
"I never wanted to leave AEK but events led me to take the course of action I did," Tsartas said. "Now, AEK want me to stay and I am very happy to be back. After the chaos of the last month, we have to try to look forward." Psomiadis stepped down after government auditors found a €16m hole in the club's accounts. His replacement is Giannis Granitsas, a president of the club's amateur section who has been put in temporary charge by an Athens court.
Out of exile
Tsartas's return follows that of striker Themistoklis Nikolaidis. The Greek international ended his self-imposed exile from the club after the new board of directors was appointed on Wednesday. Nikolaidis had asked the EPAE to release him from his contract after an incident involving Psomiadis outside the player's home on 14 January, after which Nikolaidis pressed criminal charges against his former employer.
Meanwhile, Greek culture minister Evangelos Venizelos has set up a working party to investigate the finances of all the country's professional football clubs. State auditors will check the books at all clubs and interview both team directors and EPAE officials.
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