Published On: Mon, Mar 12th, 2018

PAOK owner appears to carry gun while disputing disallowed goal

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The owner of Greek title challenger PAOK Thessaloniki appeared to be carrying a pistol when he led a pitch invasion during Sunday’s visit from league-leading AEK Athens.

Fernando Varela scored a 90th-minute winner for PAOK which would've put the club within one point of the Superleague's summit, but the referee overturned his decision and disallowed the strike for offside after consultation with his linesman, reports AP's Demetris Nellas.


This prompted PAOK chief Ivan Savvidis' first march onto the pitch with a group of bodyguards. He attempted to confront match officials for disallowing Varela's goal, and AEK officials also claim he threatened their operations manager Vassilis Dimitriadis.


On the second foray, Savvidis was no longer wearing an overcoat, exposing what looked like a gun in a holder attached to his hip. Nellas understands Savvidis didn't reach for the weapon, but his encroachment forced the game to be suspended. European football writer Charles Ducksbury believes the referee suspended the match at 1-0 to PAOK, meaning he eventually decided the goal would stand.

AEK is expected to appeal the decision, with the case likely to be taken to the Greek courts. The capital club has also vowed to file a complaint with FIFA and UEFA.


PAOK was embroiled in controversy around its previous home game, when the match wasn't able to start due to Olympiacos coach Oscar Garcia apparently being hit in the face by a cash register roll. PAOK was subsequently punished with a three-point deduction and a supporter ban from Sunday's meeting with AEK – putting the northern Greek outfit seven points behind the table topper – but this decision was reversed in the hours leading up to the heated title showdown.

"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," PAOK said in a statement, as translated by AP. "There will be relevant announcements on the issue soon."

(Photos courtesy: Getty Images)

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