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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 19 December 2018

Greek game abandoned after PAOK club president enters football pitch with handgun

Match suspended in 90th minute after disputed goal by PAOK defender Fernando Varela initially ruled offside by referee, prompting angry protest from hosts

PAOK president Ivan Savvidis, centre, is escorted out after taking to the pitch carrying a handgun in his waistband in Thessaloniki. Sakis Mitrolidis / AFP
PAOK president Ivan Savvidis, centre, is escorted out after taking to the pitch carrying a handgun in his waistband in Thessaloniki. Sakis Mitrolidis / AFP

Sunday's Greek Super League clash between PAOK Thessaloniki and AEK Athens was abandoned when the president of the home side marched on to 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 on to 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.

The referee could not convince AEK to return to the pitch to complete the final few minutes of the 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's 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.

Earlier on 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 manager Oscar Garcia was hit by an object thrown from the stands.

The committee also overturned a ruling ordering PAOK to 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.

AEK's Swedish midfielder Niklas Hult, right, outruns PAOK's forward Dimitris Limnios during their Superleague match in Thessaloniki. Sakis Mitrolidis / AFP
AEK's Swedish midfielder Niklas Hult, right, outruns PAOK's forward Dimitris Limnios during their Superleague match in Thessaloniki. Sakis Mitrolidis / AFP

Updated: March 12, 2018 10:26 AM

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