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Gun-toting PAOK owner banned, club docked points

March 29, 2018

Ivan Savvidis, the owner of Greek club PAOK, has been banned for three years after storming on to the pitch armed with a gun. The club have been docked three points for his actions, severely dampening their title hopes.

Griechenland Präsident Ivan Savvidis stürmt auf den Platz: Spielabbruch bei PAOK Saloniki
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/augenklick/firo Sportphoto

The decision, announced on Thursday, comes a day after the Greek Superleague announced the competition would resume almost a fortnight after Georgia-born businessman Ivan Savvidis entered the field of play with a holstered gun on his belt.

Savvidis, who was fined €100,000 ($123,000) by the league's organizers, apologized soon after he strode on to the field of play when a late goal for his side was ruled offside in a game against fellow title challengers AEK Athens earlier this month.

Read more: Ivan Savvidis: PAOK's strongman with a gun

All 16 Superleague clubs had already accepted widespread changes to the league's disciplinary code after the incident.

PAOK have been fined €60,000, must play three matches behind closed doors and will lose three points, which sends them down to third in a tight battle for the Greek league championship, which also features seven-time defending champions Olympiacos. PAOK said they would appeal the ruling.

"The sanction is harsh and was delivered under the pressure of a coordinated media storm against PAOK," the club said in a statement. "We are proceeding with an appeal and await to be judged on real facts."

Also on Thursday, the monitoring committee of global football body FIFA recommended the immediate suspension of Greece's football federation, according to a letter leaked to Greek media.

mp/dv (AFP, Reuters)