PAOK president storms pitch armed after his side's goal was ruled out

Marco Green
March 14, 2018

That would be Ivan Savvidis of PAOK FC, a Thessaloniki-based club that was in contention for the league title heading into Sunday's match against league leaders AEK Athens.

Greek football has been marred by crowd trouble in recent seasons and PAOK were deducted three points - but managed to overturn the sanction on appeal - after Olympiakos coach Oscar Garcia was hit by a toilet roll thrown from the stands at PAOK in February.

It is also believed that Paok sports director Lubos Michel, a Slovak former Federation Internationale de Football Association referee, issued threats against Yiorgos Kominis, who refereed the AEK game.

The game was eventually abandoned and the Superleague has since been suspended indefinitely by the country's government, while a prosecutor ordered a judicial investigation on Tuesday.

Savvides, who is considered a political ally of Greece Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, controls the top hotel in the port city of Thessaloniki and is the owner of Greek daily Ethnos. "The most important thing is that rules apply to everyone". He said: "We are not going back, we will continue the fight for transparency and a better football".

The incident has been condemned by both football's European governing body, UEFA, and the world governing body, FIFA, which issued a statement threatening to impose sanctions if all sides fail to take "immediate steps" to end the "unacceptable situation in Greek football". It's just totally normal to have a club president run on the pitch with a gun and start threatening referees with comments like "You're over", you know?

He said: "I wish to apologise to all PAOK supporters, Greek fans and the worldwide football community".

"I'd like to apologize to the fans of PAOK, to all Greek fans and to the worldwide football community", he added.

"All that could lead to uncontrollable situations".

In a statement on the club's website, he said his only intention had been "to protect tens of thousands of PAOK fans from provocations and clashes (with) victims". And, obviously did not threaten anybody.

Stratos said he had asked for the "quickest possible resumption" of matches but no date had been yet decided. So maybe Savvidis is protecting PAOK fans after all, just not in the way he claimed.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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