Savvidis liable for arrest for events during PAOK-AEK match; PM holds meeting on incident

Thessaloniki Security Police on Monday announced that they are seeking PAOK Thessaloniki football club owner Ivan Savvidis in order to arrest him for violating sports laws, using procedures for those caught in the act of committing a crime. The charges relate to his incursion onto the Toumba football pitch during the match between his team and AEK Athens on Sunday night.

The announcement follows the launch of a preliminary inquiry into Sunday night’s events at the match, citizen protection ministry sources told the Athens-Macedonian News Agency (ANA). They noted that entering the pitch during a football match is a misdemeanour offence for which, according to the law, the culprit must be arrested within 24 hours.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras met Deputy Sports Minister Giorgos Vasiliadis at 11:00 to discuss the events during the match.

According to Interior Minister Panos Skourletis, in statements to ANA radio ‘Praktorio 104.9 FM’, it was completely unacceptable for anyone to enter any public place bearing a fire-arm, especially a team owner.

“I want to be absolutely clear and categorical. I consider that yesterday’s incidents, yesterday’s events are an insult to Greek football and I would say that it should act as a cause not just for a major discussion but for severe measures. Yesterday’s image was provocative and I think it is damaging for Mr. Savvidis’ team first of all and the people of PAOK,” he said.

Skourletis stressed that there cannot be any favourable treatment for either individuals or teams: “There cannot be double standards for anyone, whatever position they may occupy, especially so if they are a public figure,” he said.

The match was interrupted and later indefinitely suspended after Savvidis stormed onto the pitch, at one point carrying what appeared to be a fire-arm in a holder, to protest over a disputed goal at the 90th minute that the referee had disallowed for offside.