Gun-carrying PAOK boss faces disciplinary charges as FIFA arrives

Reuters , Wednesday 14 Mar 2018

Russian-born Greek businessman and owner of PAOK Salonika, Ivan Savvides
Russian-born Greek businessman and owner of PAOK Salonika, Ivan Savvides (C), pictured with what appears to be a gun in a holster, enters the pitch after the referee annulled a goal of PAOK (Reuters)

PAOK Salonika president Ivan Savvides on Wednesday faced disciplinary charges that could lead to a lengthy stadium ban and a points deduction for his team, after he stormed onto the pitch with what appeared to be a handgun on his waist.

The Georgia-born businessman's pitch invasion on Sunday triggered a suspension of football matches in Greece with world soccer's governing body FIFA in town for talks.

In a brief statement, the Greek football federation said Savvides had been charged with a series of football code violations, including making threats, which carry a fine and a potential stadium ban of up to five years.

The top division Superleague's disciplinary body will now be responsible for any further action, a league official said.

Savvides' team could also be punished with a points deduction which could put them out of the running for the title which they were competing for before Sunday's match.

The charges were announced as Herbert Huebel, who heads a monitoring committee set up by FIFA last year for Greek football, met Deputy Culture and Sport minister Georgios Vassiliadis and federation officials.

Greece has indefinitely suspended matches after Savvides was filmed wearing a holster which appeared to contain a gun as he strode onto the pitch to protest about a PAOK disallowed goal against AEK Athens at the weekend.

The game was abandoned and later awarded to PAOK 1-0 following the controversial goal which had prompted the initial protests.

Savvides apologised for his actions in a club statement on Tuesday but the European Club Association (ECA) suspended the Greek side as a member with immediate effect.

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