SPORTS

Toumba match abandoned due to armed Savvidis's pitch invasion, referee says

GEORGE GEORGAKOPOULOS

TAGS: Soccer

The referee of the abandoned PAOK vs AEK game for the Super League on Sunday wrote in his match report that he changed his mind again in the locker room and decided that the controversial PAOK goal should stand, but added that he stopped the game due to the pitch invasion by PAOK owner Ivan Savvidis. The league is likely to be suspended indefinitely now.

Referee Giorgos Kominis, who after consultation with his assistant referee had PAOK’s 90th minute goal correctly disallowed as offside, wrote in his report that upon further consideration he decided the goal should stand after all – although Greek soccer has not yet approved the use of video replays for match decision making.

This decision obviously occurred under great pressure by the home team at Toumba Stadium in Thessaloniki, including Savvidis storming into the pitch with a gun in his pocket and telling the referee “you are a dead man,” according to AEK.

However the referee decision on the goal may matter little in the end, as Kominis wrote he decided to abandon the game due to Savvidis’s invasion, which should lead to the match being annulled and all three points going to the visitors. That is if the Greek sports justice rules by the book – unlike the Saturday night decision that returned three points to PAOK after the injury to Olympiakos manager Oscar Garcia.

Kominis wrote specifically that Savvidis and his security officers entered the pitch after the goal was disallowed, that he clearly had a gun with him and pushed AEK official Vassilis Dimitriadis, while PAOK official Lubos Michel, a former referee himself, threatened Kominis saying “you are finished.”

Even more importantly, Kathimerini understands the government is seriously considering on Monday morning the temporary or even indefinite stop to the league and cup competitions.

Deputy Minister for Sports Giorgos Vassiliadis, who had avoided to comment on the unprecedented decision by the soccer federation’s appeals committee to return the points to PAOK, said in the early hours of Monday that “such extreme phenomena require brave decisions”.

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