Greek derby postponed as enraged PAOK owner charges onto pitch with gun

Ivan Savvidis

Fernando Varela thought he had scored a late victor for PAOK, only for his effort to be ruled out for offside.

A victory for PAOK would have seen them narrow the gap on AEK at the top of the Greek Superleague table so the explosive reaction from home fans at Toumba Stadium hardly came as a surprise.

A disputed goal at the end of the Greek league match led to a pitch invasion by PAOK owner Ivan Savvidis, second right.

The match was officially abandoned two hours later but it was reported that the referee had reversed his decision.

He then had to be restrained as he appeared to aim some angry words towards one of the match officials. On the second occasion, without the overcoat he was wearing before, Savvidis appeared to be carrying a pistol which was in its holder.

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The referee first postponed and then abandoned the match although there was some confusion over the final score, with Paok claiming on Twitter that the goal had been reinstated but the league's website showing the score as 0-0.

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".

"To begin with we did not know he had the gun on his belt but that is also not the most important thing as maybe he is authorised to have it, what is not normal is for a president to go onto the pitch and threaten the referee".

As if all this were not enough, PAOK and AEK are also likely to meet in the Greek Cup final once again, after last year's bad riots at Volos between the two sets of fans that resulted in dozens of injured fans and police officers.

Earlier in the day, PAOK had a stadium ban and a three-point deduction revoked following an incident against Olympiacos on February 25. A derby between PAOK and Olympiakos Piraeus was called off last month after Olympiakos coach Oscar Garcia was hit by a roll of paper thrown from the stands.

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