PAOK vs AEK Athens match suspended mid-play after owner Savvidis storms onto pitch

The football match between PAOK Thessaloniki and AEK Athens in Toumba on Sunday night was suspended mid-play without a result after a disputed goal at the 90th minute caused PAOK owner Ivan Savvidis to storm onto the pitch surrounded by body guards, and carrying what appeared to be a fire-arm in a holder.

Fernando Varela put the ball in the nets with a header at the 90th minute and a referee at first signalled a goal, putting PAOK 1-0 ahead, but then appeared to disallow it for offside. This caused angry reactions in the stadium and Savvidis came onto the pitch to angrily confront the referee, who departed and two hours later decided that the match would be indefinitely suspended.

Opposing team AEK refused to return to the pitch to continue the game, claiming intimidation of the referee and concern for the safety of its players and officials, and the match was indefinitely suspended without a final outcome.

According to an announcement by AEK Athens later on Sunday night, the referee’s decision was prompted by Savvidis’ pitch invasion and that the final outcome of the match will be decided in a sports tribunal. Sources within the club also noted that they refuse “to play football with guns,” citing photographs showing Savvidis carrying a gun as he entered the Toumba football field.

The club said that it refused to return to the game out of concern for the safety of its players and the prevailing conditions in the stadium.

According to AEK player Panagiotis Kone, in statements to the state television channel ERT after the game was suspended, Savvidis had threatened the referee after he disallowed the goal.