Greek football club PAOK president apologises after gun incident
Greek football club PAOK president apologises after gun incident
Fans of PAOK during a Europa League game with Schalke
17 March, 2018, 22:28
The Georgia-born businessman's pitch invasion with what appeared to be a gun in his belt on Sunday triggered a suspension of football matches in Greece with Fifa urging the country for immediate action.
The Greek Superleague contest descended into chaos when, with the score 0-0, PAOK had an 89th-minute goal ruled out for offside.
After Ivan Savvidis' armed pitch invasion during a match, FIFA is considering taking action against Greek football - possibly even going as far as suspending Greek clubs from worldwide tournaments. 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".
"It's an episode added to the long list of violence and extremely offensive behaviour that sadly characterise professional football for decades", Tzanakopoulos said. "I had no intention of clashing with anyone and I clearly did not threaten anyone".
The ECA, which represents European football clubs, suspended the Greeks indefinitely.
"I am struggling and will continue to strive, despite the constant attacks I take at all levels, for a fair football with honest arbitration in all the races and for winning the championships on the courts rather than in the courts".
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FIFA Director of European Member Associations Bjorn Vassallo informed Vassiliadis in a letter that the delegation would be leaving later Tuesday "to hold talks with the respective stakeholders on the actions going forward".
In a statement, the ECA confirmed the suspension of PAOK would remain in effect until further notice and would be discussed at the umbrella group's General Assembly in Rome on March 27.
"ECA exists to protect the integrity and regularity of competitions and matches as well as the sporting values and principles on which European football is based".
Greek soccer fixtures are frequently marred by violence.
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.
Olympiakos boss Oscar Garcia was hit in the head with a roll of toilet paper, forcing the match to be abandoned.
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