PAOK Chairman Ivan Savvidis Invades The Pitch With Gun After Goal Was Disallowed
Sunday’s Greek Super League game between title rivals PAOK and AEK Athens ended in chaos as a pitch invasion followed a disallowed goal.
Fernando Varela thought he had scored a late winner for PAOK, only for his effort to be ruled out for offside. That decision sparked furious scenes which included PAOK chairman Ivan Savvidis marching onto the pitch appearing to carry a gun in his waistband.
Despite the invasion beginning before 90 minutes had been completed, the match did not restart. There were claims that the goal may have been awarded after all, leaving fans to wait for the referee’s report to discover the confirmed result. AEK’s Spanish coach Manolo Jimenez saw the firearm and claims to have heard Savvidis threatening the referee verbally.
“We didn’t know if he had a gun, then we saw it,’ Jimenez told Cadena SER. ‘It could be seen that he was moving his hand towards his waist because he had a gun.” Jimenez added: “He threatened the referee right in front of me. According to my interpreter, he told him: ‘You’re finished as a referee’. I’m stunned; I don’t understand it. It’s the type of thing you expect to see in a Clint Eastwood movie.”
AEK will file a complaint with FIFA and UEFA. PAOK said in a statement: “After what happened today, PAOK chairman Ivan Savvidis is preparing all necessary procedures to protect the team and all his collaborators from the threats and attacks they have been subjected to. There will be relevant announcements on the issue soon.”
It is not illegal to carry a licensed gun in Greece but Savvidis was escorted off the pitch by security. The game was played less than 24 hours after PAOK had a points deduction overturned.
PAOK had been docked three points because their home match against Olympiacos in February was abandoned after away manager Oscar Garcia had been hit in the face by a object thrown from the crowd.
The decision to award the victory to Olympiacos stood, but PAOK were reissued with the points that had been taken off them as part of the punishment.