Greece may be expelled by Federation Internationale de Football Association

Greece may be expelled by Federation Internationale de Football Association

The president of Greek club PAOK on Tuesday apologised after storming onto the pitch with a holstered gun tucked in his belt, an incident that prompted the indefinite suspension of the championship.

He was held back at one point as he and others remonstrated with the referee, who had disallowed a goal from PAOK's Fernando Varela in the 89th minute.

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.

Savvides was born in Georgia of Greek heritage and is a former member of the Russian parliament.

Greek Sports Minister Giorgos Vasileiadis announced on Monday the country's soccer league was suspended until further notice after the incident. "Clearly I did not have the right to go out on the pitch in this way", Savvidis said.

Savvidis took to the field on Sunday to protest against a referee's call while apparently carrying a gun during the league match between PAOK and AEK Athens.

The development represents the latest in a long line of crises within Greek football.


"All of this created a degraded situation on the pitch and my only goal was to protect tens of thousands of PAOK fans from provocations - complications - human casualties", he added.

"Please believe that I had no intention to engage in a brawl with our opponents or the referees - and obviously did not threaten anybody".

"Despite the non-stop attacks I am facing on all fronts, I fight and I will continue to fight for fair football, equitable refereeing in all encounters and titles being won on the pitch and not in courtrooms". The European Club Association said its board voted unanimously to suspend PAOK until a March 27 members' assembly in Rome.

Controversy has marred Greek football over recent years.

A few days later, 58 people were handed mostly suspended sentences of 30 months to 10 years in prison for their involvement in a 2011 match-fixing scandal, including a former Greece worldwide punished for illegal betting, an active club chief and two more former club presidents.

Two weeks ago, PAOK's home game with Olympiacos was abandoned before kick-off when visiting coach Oscar Garcia was struck by an object thrown from the stands.

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