nsucurrent.com March 17, 2018

PAOK president invades pitch with a gun

13 March 2018, 07:32 | Nina Perez

@richard_conway Twitter

@richard_conway  Twitter

ATHENS, Greece (AP) - Greece's sports minister says soccer league play suspended, a day after team owner ran onto field with a gun. It is unclear what the repercussions will be for PAOK, though Greece's deputy culture and sports minister Georgios Vassiliadis said the situation required "bold decisions" to be made.

Tempers boiled over on the sidelines and PAOK owner Ivan Savvidis took to the pitch with a gun and a holster at his side as he made his way to the referee. Adding to the widespread confusion, there were claims that the referee, Giorgos Kominis, had allowed the goal.

PAOK and AEK are in a neck-and-neck race for the league title, which would be their first in over 24 years.

European soccer's governing body also condemned "the recent incidents in Greek football".

Born in Georgia (the Caucasus nation, not the US state), Savvidis is one of the world's wealthiest people and former member of the Russian parliament.

The freaky incident took place last night after PAOK's tense 0-0 draw with AEK Athens, which saw PAOK denied a late victor when the officials cancelled out a seemingly good goal.

Savvidis was surrounded by members of his entourage and chaos ensued as supporters also hurdled hoardings to join him on the pitch.

PAOK Salonika went on to be declared the victor after the referee reversed his decision two hours after the game and allowed the goal.

Olympiakos itself is appealing a decision that had deducted three points from the team for fan behaviour in a February 4 home game against AEK, which it lost 2-1.

PAOK have said in a statement that Savvidis is "preparing to take all necessary steps to protect the club and all his executives and associates from the threats and attacks they are suffering".

Although he did not remove anything from the holster, the 58-year-old had to be restrained while confronting referee Giorgios Kominis.

"Ivan (Savvidis) didn't threaten anybody with a gun", his media department told Russia's Sport Express newspaper. He carries weapons as he has a permission for it.

But the deal was postponed after a Russian bank backing Savvidis was placed under temporary administration.

"We are continuing the battle for transparency and better football".

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