||Bajevic walks out of AEK
Monday, 26 January 2004
Dusan Bajevic has resigned as head coach of AEK Athens FC after the deterioration of his relationship with the 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. After claiming he had been the recipient of menacing messages and the assault last season of his gymnast friend Dimitris Bouroutzikas, Bajevic decided to leave this weekend after the display of a banner protesting against his presence as coach and derogatory chants aimed at his wife during Sunday's home 4-0 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 happened. I could not cope with it, it is a matter of ethics, it hurts me. I feel really bad that I could not give AEK all that I could and I regret leaving my task halfway. I believe in my 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, with a crucial visit to Panathinaikos FC next Sunday. Meanwhile, AEK vice president Petros Stathis has also left the club, saying: "When I decided to come back and help AEK Athens, I did it mainly because of Bajevic's presence. I failed to keep him and I resign too."
AEK currently lie fourth in the Hellenic National League, but were eliminated from the UEFA Champions League at the group stage. Midfield player Vassilios Tsiartas said: "Mr Bajevic told us that he cannot continue like this. It is a matter of ethics." Referring to the coach's role in preventing players from leaving the club over unpaid moneys, Tsiartas added: "It was Mr Bajevic who managed to keep us all together during the summer. Now we have no moral obligation."