AEK Athens kicked out of Europa League
ATHENS, May 31, 2012 (AFP) - AEK Athens were kicked out of next season's Europa League for finanical irregularities by the Hellenic Football Federation on Thursday.
"It is a black page in the history of AEK," club president Andreas Dimitrelos told a press conference after the decision by the federation.
"We have a debt of 35 million euros and 23 million euros of this is owed to the state. We are asking help from AEK supporters. The next 15 days will be crucial for the future of the team."
Asteras Tripolis will replace AEK in European action in 2012/2013.
AEK were one of six Super League clubs dound guilty of financial irregularities.
The six - AEK, Aris, Panionios, PAS Giannina, Corfu and OFI Crete - retain their topflight status but they will not be allowed to sign any new players except for under 22-year-old Greek players.
They will be allowed to hold on to players already under contract, but it remains to be seen how many of the players will want to continue playing on teams with heavy debts.
The six teams had appealed an original decision by the Super League to not give them licenses to complete transfers or extend contracts as the clubs owed back wages to former players and coaches as well as having debts to other clubs and the state.
The federation's appeals committee did accept an appeal lodged by Panathinaikos allowing the Athens team to take their place in the Champions League qualifying round.