Dusan Bajevic has resigned as coach of AEK Athens FC following the deterioration of his relationship with the Greek club's fans.
Bajevic returned to the AEK helm in summer 2002, but many supporters had not forgiven him for moving to rivals Olympiacos CFP in June 1996. The Serbo-Montenegrin, who had been the recipient of menacing messages, decided to stand down after abusive chants were aimed at his wife and fans waved a banner saying "traitor" during Sunday's 4-0 home win against Iraklis FC.
'A matter of ethics'
"My decision to leave was taken yesterday," he said on Monday. "You all saw and heard what went on. I cannot take that - it is a matter of ethics, it hurts me. I feel bad that I could not give AEK everything I wanted, and regret leaving a job half-done. I believe in the players. They asked me to stay, but
I could not cope with this situation any longer."
Persias in charge
Meletis Persias, Bajevic's assistant, will take over as caretaker coach ahead of the crucial visit to Panathinaikos FC on Sunday. Meanwhile, AEK vice-president Petros Stathis has also left the club, saying: "When I decided to come back and help AEK, I did it mainly because of Bajevic's presence. I failed to keep him here and I resign too."
Midfield player Vassilios Tsiartas said: "Mr Bajevic told us that he cannot continue like this. What can we do? He's not changing his mind and he's not staying." Referring to the coach's role in preventing players from leaving the club over unpaid wages, Tsiartas added: "It was Mr Bajevic who managed to keep us all together during the summer. Now we have no moral obligation." AEK are fourth in the Alpha Ethniki.
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