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Greek Super League suspended after PAOK Salonika president invades pitch with gun

13/03/2018 00:00:00
by BBC
Gun outrage ... PAOK Salonika president Ivan Savvidis

THE Greek Super League has been indefinitely suspended after PAOK Salonika's president invaded the pitch with a gun during a match on Sunday.

Ivan Savvidis, who had a gun in a hip holster, tried to confront the referee after his side had a late goal ruled out for offside against AEK Athens.

AEK's players left the pitch concerned for their safety and did not return.

The match was officially abandoned two hours later and local police are seeking Savvidis to arrest him.

Deputy sports minister Giorgos Vasiliadis announced the abandonment of all top-flight matches on Monday after a meeting with Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.

"It won't start again unless there is a clear framework, agreed by all, to move forward with conditions and rules," he added.

Vasiliadis told BBC Sport the scenes had returned the sport to problems of the past.

"Such extreme phenomena demand courageous decisions," he said.

Who is Savvidis and what did he do?

Savvidis, one of Greece's richest men, was born in Georgia of Greek heritage and is a former member of the Russian parliament.

He asked his team to leave the pitch after PAOK had a goal ruled out for offside in the 89th minute and then marched towards the referee with two bodyguards before being pulled back.

PAOK are third in the Greek top flight and could have moved within two points of leaders AEK with a win.

The club was deducted three points - but managed to overturn the sanction on appeal - after Olympiakos coach Oscar Garcia was hit by a toilet roll thrown from the stands at PAOK in February.

World governing body Fifa has threatened to suspend Greece from international competition and "expects" the national governing body to take "appropriate measures and rapidly".

It added in a statement: "Even though the recent incidents occurred in the context of a national competition, meaning that disciplinary measures fall under the jurisdiction of the competent judicial bodies of the Greek Football Federation, the Fifa monitoring committee is closely following this situation.

"Failure to take proper actions by the competent bodies to eradicate all sorts of violence in order to guarantee the smooth running of the national competitions would oblige Fifa to refer the case to the Fifa council for consideration and possible sanctions, including the suspension of the member association."


Uefa, European football's governing body, condemned the incident and said any disciplinary measures "fall under the jurisdiction of the Greek FA".

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