Greek Football Suspended After Club Owner Invades the Pitch with a Gun

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(WFI) UEFA is monitoring very closely events in Greece following the indefinite suspension of the country's football league.
PAOK Salonika owner Ivan Savvidis walks onto pitch with his gun (Twitter)

The government in Athens decided on Monday, March 12 to put the Greek Superleague on hold after the owner of the club PAOK Salonika was shown on Sunday carrying a gun as he invaded the pitch with five of his bodyguards during the game between his team and AEK Athens.

Photographs showed Georgia-born Ivan Savvidis, one of Greece’s richest men, joining a pitch invasion in the closing minutes of the game to protest against a disallowed goal . After Fernando Varela scored from a header in the 89th minute that put PAOK ahead 1-0, the referee signaled a score but then disallowed it for offside.

Savvidis walked onto the pitch twice surrounded by bodyguards to confront the official. The first time he was wearing an overcoat. The second time, his coat was off and his holster was in plain view. Savvidis did not draw the gun though.

AEK officials claim Savvidis threatened the referee on the pitch.  Hours after the end of the game, the goal was eventually allowed to stand and PAOK was awarded a 1-0 win.

“We have decided to interrupt the championship ... It won’t start again unless there is a clear framework, agreed by all, to move forward with conditions and rules,” Greek Deputy Culture and Sports Minister Georgios Vassiliadis said

Vassiliadis said the suspension was indefinite until all involved agreed on a code of conduct and rules. “On our part much tighter rules on issues of security,” he said.

The minister claims the suspensions will not affect the Greek national team's friendlies against Egypt and Switzerland later this month.

Greek soccer games are often interrupted by violence. A recent match between PAOK and Olympiakos was also suspended after Olympiakos coach Oscar Garcia was hit by a roll of paper thrown from the stands.

Homepage photo: PAOK Salonika

By INSIDER Javier Monne 

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