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Men's Football Greek football suspended after gun-toting Thessaloniki owner marches onto pitch in dispute

GREECE suspended its football league indefinitely today, a day after the gun-toting owner of PAOK Thessaloniki marched onto the field following a disputed goal at the end of a match.

Sports Minister Giorgos Vasileiadis, speaking after meeting the prime minister, said league play was suspended and would not restart “if there is not a new, clear framework agreed to by all so we can move forward with conditions and regulations.”

PAOK owner Ivan Savvidis walked onto the field accompanied by bodyguards and appeared to be carrying a pistol in a holster around his waist.

PAOK owner, businessman Ivan Savvidis invades, the pitch with a gun strapped to his hip
PAOK owner, businessman Ivan Savvidis invades, the pitch with a gun strapped to his hip

Yesterday’s match in the northern city of Thessaloniki between PAOK and AEK Athens was eventually abandoned after the disputed 90th-minute goal, which would have put PAOK ahead 1-0.

Police said earlier today they were investigating Savvidis, who holds a gun licence, for illegal entry onto the field and for possession of an object that could cause harm in a sporting venue.

Fifa slammed Savvidis’s actions.

“Given that this incident occurred in the context of a national competition, any disciplinary measure to be imposed falls under the jurisdiction of the deciding bodies of the Greek FA.”

Vasileiadis said Greek sporting authorities were “in open contact with Uefa” and would be holding meetings with the Greek football federation throughout today to discuss further moves.

“The government for the past three years has fought great battles to clean up the troubled football sector. We have won a lot, but much more remains to be done,” the minister said. “In any case, we will not allow all this effort to be endangered, we will not allow phenomena of the past to be resurrected.”

In yesterday’s match, Fernando Varela scored in the 90th minute, putting host PAOK ahead 1-0. The referee signalled a goal but then seemed to disallow it for offside.

Savvidis marched onto the field twice accompanied by bodyguards. On the second occasion, without the overcoat he had been wearing earlier, his pistol was visible. Savvidis made no move to use the weapon.


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