Nikolaidis takes AEK control

Demis Nikolaidis has taken over his former club AEK Athens FC, allowing them to enter the UEFA Cup.

Former AEK Athens FC striker Demis Nikolaidis has completed his takeover of his former club, allowing them a licence to enter the UEFA Cup.

Majority control
Greek international Nikolaidis, who left AEK for Club Atlético de Madrid last summer, is now expected to retire from football after UEFA EURO 2004™ after leading a group of investors who now control 58 per cent of the shares in Athens side. By clearing the club's playing debts they are now free to enter European competition.

Government approval
Last Tuesday the current AEK board agreed to sell 38 per cent of the club's stock provided the Greek Ministry of Development approved an extension of the club's capital, and the go ahead was received on Friday. The rest of his share comes from investment groups ENIC and NetMed.

Club statement
The club announced: "Today, a group of investors led by Demis Nikolaidis paid the amount of €1.18m, including a €680,000 rights issue, as agreed by the club's general assembly on 15 May 2004. The remaining money will cover future extensions of the club's capital."

European place
They added: "With this money, AEK Athens have cleared their debts towards former players, a move necessary for our club to guarantee their place in European competition. AEK Athens would like to thank the Ministry of Development, for their prompt response to our petition for extension of the club's capital".

Further debts
However, the club still remain €150m in debt, but the new owners are hopeful that 60 per cent of their creditors will agree to waive their dues, which under Greek law would force the remainder to follow suit. They also need a €6m loan to cover other urgent expenses, and to cut the current wage bill.