Armed club owner’s pitch invasion prompts criticism against gov’t

Armed club owner’s pitch invasion prompts criticism against gov’t

Greece’s left-led government came under fire on Monday morning for fostering a culture of lawlessness after the owner of a soccer club invaded the pitch while armed with a gun on Sunday.

Businessman and PAOK owner Ivan Savvidis stormed onto the pitch after a disputed goal in a Super League match between his team and AEK in Thessaloniki, northern Greece, while carrying what appeared to be a pistol in a hip holster.

AEK officials claim that Savvidis had also threatened the referee earlier, during another foray onto the pitch.

Responding to the incident on Monday morning New Democracy Vice President Adonis Georgiadis told Skai TV that the government needs to provide answers concerning its relationship to the businessman.

“The image of a man who feels he can do anything we wants was shocking,” Georgiadis said. “Someone who so brazenly flaunts the law must feel that he has some kind of privilege.”

PASOK spokesman Andreas Loverdos also said that such incidents should no be treated with tolerance.

“Every line was crossed, as is more than apparent by reading the international press today,” Loverdos said, also on Skai, in reference to the story being reported by numerous international outlets.

“I remember Mr [Stavros] Kontonis saying that he would crack down on violence when he took over at the Sports Ministry and never doing so,” Loverdos said. “This is another complete failure on the government's part.”

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