A Greek top-flight match between PAOK Salonika and AEK Athens was abandoned on Sunday after PAOK’s president Ivan Savvidis invaded the pitch with a gun. Savvidis tried to threaten the referee after his side’s goal towards the end of the match was ruled offside.
In a match that ended in a goalless draw, Savvidis, accompanied by bodyguards, invaded the pitch at Thessaloniki twice, once wearing an overcoat, the second time with the coat off and his holster in plain view. AEK’s players left the pitch, scared for their safety. According to reports, the referee reversed his decision after the match.
While the Greek Super League has been indefinitely suspended after the incident, the local police are looking for Savvidis to arrest him. Deputy Sports Minister Giorgos Vasiliadis made an announcement on the abandonment of all top-flight matches after meeting Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras. He said, “It won’t start again unless there is a clear framework, agreed by all, to move forward with conditions and rules,” he added.
Savvides is a former member of the Russian parliament and has assets ranging from Thessaloniki port to tobacco and media companies.
📽| A wild turn of events in the 🇬🇷 Superleague! League contenders PAOK had a game-clinching goal ruled offside vs. Masoud Shojaei’s AEK Athens. The game was suspended after a pitch invasion.
Incredibly, the PAOK president brandished his gun to protest the decision! 🔫 pic.twitter.com/8jFaUUSP7N
— PersianFootball.com (@FootballPersian) 11 March 2018
This is not the first time that Greek soccer has been hit by a controversy when a match had to be stopped. Last month itself, A derby between PAOK and Olympiakos Piraeus was abandoned after PAOK’s coach was hit by a paper roll thrown at him by angry fans from the stands.
FIFA also released a statement saying they are aware of the incident but the jurisdiction of the matter falls under Greek FA. PAOK are third in the Greek top flight and could have moved within two points of leaders AEK with a win.