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Panathinaikos settle debts with Michael Essien, two others in effort to avoid points deduction

ATHENS, Greece -- Panathinaikos say long-delayed payments have been made to Michael Essien and two others in an effort to avoid losing nine points as the Greek club struggles with mounting debts and the threat of relegation.

A sports judge ordered Panathinaikos to settle debts with Essien, Argentine winger Sebastian Leto and Spanish forward Toche within three days or lose the points.

Club officials did not say how much money had been paid.

Essien moved to Panathinaikos from AC Milan in 2015 and left the following year after an injury-plagued season.

Normally a title contender, Panathinaikos are currently 10th in the 16-team Greek league.

AEK Athens lead with 60 points from 26 matches, two ahead of PAOK with three games remaining.

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