PAOK-ing heat: Ivan Savvidis was armed and flanked by bodyguards when he walked onto the pitch
PAOK Salonika president Ivan Savvidis says he is “deeply sorry” for his role in the chaotic scenes that led to the game against AEK Athens being abandoned on Sunday.
Savvidis marched on to the pitch, following a disallowed PAOK goal in the 89th minute, and images showed him apparently carrying a gun in a hip holster.
As a result Greece’s Superleague, which has been blighted by crowd trouble in recent times, has been indefinitely suspended.
“I am deeply sorry for what happened,” Savvidis said in a statement on PAOK’s website. “I had absolutely no right to enter the pitch the way I did.
“My emotional reaction stems from the widespread negative situations prevailing in Greek football lately and from all the unacceptable, non sports-related events that took place towards the end of the PAOK-AEK Athens encounter: the actions of the referee and his assistant (goal – offside – goal), the match suspension, the protests and invasion on the pitch by many people from both sides.
“All that could lead to uncontrollable situations. My only aim was to protect tens of thousands of PAOK fans from provocation, riots and human casualties.
“Please believe that I had no intention to engage in a brawl with our opponents or the referees. And? Obviously did not threaten anybody.”