News ID: 211567
Published: 0320 GMT March 12, 2018

PAOK owner wanted by Greek police for pitch invasion

PAOK owner wanted by Greek police for pitch invasion
Greek club PAOK’s owner Ivan Savvides (C) walks onto the pitch while apparently carrying a revolver to protest over a disallowed goal during a match with AEK in Thessaloniki, Greece, on March 11, 2018.
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Greek police issued an arrest warrant on Monday against PAOK Thessaloniki owner Ivan Savvidis for invading the pitch – 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.

Savvidis defended his behavior.

"Ivan (Savvidis) didn’t threaten anybody with a gun," his media department told Russia's Sport Express newspaper.

"It means that the provocative headlines in certain media are totally untrue.

"He carries weapons as he has a permission for it. It's not prohibited in Greece."

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 host 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 PAOK 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 the Greek side expressed concern for its safety.

The visitor 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.

Savvidis' press office told Sports Express, "PAOK are currently in the (Greek league) leading group with fair chances to win the title.

"It has caused various provocations against the club. Savvidis has allowed himself some excessive emotions but, once again, he didn’t threaten anybody with a gun."

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."

 

‘Bold decisions’

 

Vasiliadis, meanwhile, promised to take ‘bold decisions’ on Monday after Sunday’s game’s incidents.

Images of “persons entering sports grounds armed” harm PAOK and soccer in general, Vassiliadis said in a written statement on Monday, Reuters reported.

“Such extreme phenomena call for bold decisions,” he said, without elaborating. Greece’s state broadcaster ERT said one option being considered was suspending first division fixtures.

“We will not allow anybody to deter us from this path, even if tough decisions are required in consultation with UEFA,” Vassiliadis added.

 

 

 

 

 

   
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