Russian-born Greek businessman and owner of PAOK Salonika, Ivan Savvides (centre), pictured with what appears to be a gun in a holster, enters the pitch after the referee annulled a goal of PAOK during their soccer match against AEK Athens in Toumba Stadium in Thessaloniki, Greece. REUTERS

THESSALONIKI: Sunday’s Greek Super League clash between PAOK Thessaloniki and AEK Athens was abandoned when the president of the home side marched onto the pitch with a gun in his pocket.

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

AEK complained that PAOK owner Ivan Savvidis came onto 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 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.


Referees (right) and players stand in confusion on the pitch, during incidents following the referee's decision to disallow PAOK an injury-time goal during the Greek Superleague football match PAOK Thessaloniki vs AEK Athens on March 11, in Thessaloniki. AFP

The referee could not convince AEK to return to the pitch to complete the final few minutes of match 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’ call but PAOK’s Portuguese captain Vieirinha refused and the team did not go to the locker rooms, unlike AEK.

Kominos will issue a match report to the Greek football federation before a decision on whether the teams or individuals will be punished.


Paok president Ivan Savvidis (centre) is escorted out after taking to the pitch carrying a handgun in his waistband, after the referee refused a last minute goal during the Greek Superleague football match PAOK Thessaloniki vs AEK Athens in Thessaloniki. AFP

Earlier Sunday the Greek FA’s appeals committee annulled a decision to dock three points from PAOK over the February 25 match with Olympiakos that was called off before kick-off after visiting coach Oscar Garcia was hit by an object thrown from the stands.

The committee also overturned a ruling ordering PAOK play their next two home matches behind closed doors, resulting in a sell-out crowd of 30,000 at the Toumba Stadium for the match against AEK.

However, the committee upheld the decision to award last month’s match – which was postponed after the incident – 3-0 in favour of Olympiakos.--AFP

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