AEK Athens Face Potential Bankruptcy in January

ATHENS (Reuters) -- AEK Athens could go bankrupt if the Greek government does not allow the club to write off a large part of its debt estimated at 75 to 100 million euros ($95 to 125 million) the team's president said on Friday.

AEK's second appeal to the Greek courts was turned down on Thursday and while AEK president Demis Nikolaidis has vowed to keep fighting the former Greece striker is not optimistic.

"I can't tell you if AEK will survive until January. I don't think so said Nikolaidis who hung up his boots after Euro 2004 to spearhead a consortium that took over the club.

"The management will remain in charge until we can pay and meet our commitments."

Nikolaidis said he would apply again to the court of appeal for first division AEK to be exempted under Article 44 of the companies law which allows for debt write-off.

"If the Greek public sector does not want AEK to use article 44 for companies then Greece will get no money from us and we go out of business he said.

"But if we use the article then we have a chance to survive.

"We are trying to do our best. We are trying to make the payments and this is how we are treated. But we will fight on."

AEK who reached the group stage of the UEFA Cup after beating Slovenia's Nova Gorica in the first round on Thursday are fourth in the domestic standings after two matches.

If they go bankrupt AEK who were founded in 1924 and won the last of its 11 championships in 1994 would be forced to become an amateur club and drop into the third division.

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