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Greek police issue warrant after soccer club owner invades pitch with gun during match

The Greek-Russian businessman marched on to the pitch armed with the firearm after a disputed goal.

Paok president Ivan Savvidis takes to the pitch in Thessaloniki.
Paok president Ivan Savvidis takes to the pitch in Thessaloniki.
Image: AFP/Getty Images

GREEK POLICE ISSUED an arrest warrant on Monday against PAOK Thessaloniki owner Ivan Savvidis for invading the pitch – (with) a gun in his hip holster – in Sunday’s Super League clash with AEK Athens.

Although Savvidis reportedly has a licence for his revolver, he is wanted by police for entering the playing area, police sources told AFP.

The Greek-Russian businessman marched on to the pitch armed with the firearm after a disputed goal.

The match was suspended in the 90th minute after PAOK defender Fernando Varela’s goal was initially ruled offside, prompting an angry protest from the hosts that led AEK to walk off the pitch.

AEK had complained that Savvidis came on to the pitch with a gun in his hip holster and threatened referee Giorgos Kominos, who was reportedly told “you are finished” by PAOK technical director Lubos Michel.

Kominos some three hours later changed his decision and awarded the goal to PAOK – if the 1-0 scoreline stands they would take over first place in the Greek table from AEK.

The referee could not convince AEK to return to complete the final few minutes after they expressed concern for their safety.

The visitors also complained that Savvidis attacked AEK director Vasilis Dimitriadis.

Savvidis had asked his team to leave the pitch in protest after Kominos’s decision, but PAOK’s Portuguese captain Vieirinha refused and the team did not go to the locker rooms, unlike AEK.

Greek media reported on Monday that the leftist government is seriously considering suspending Super League contests until judicial authorities clear up pending decisions on matches involving violence.

Deputy Sports Minister Giorgos Vasiliadis is scheduled to meet with Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and measures are certain to be announced.

“There is no need to talk, but to take tough measures,” Interior Minister Panos Skourletis told Athens News Agency.

“The scenes that we have seen have hurt Greek football. Anyone who comes on the pitch with a revolver is provocatively unacceptable.”

© AFP 2018

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