SPORTS

Suspended one-year ban for PAOK

UEFA handed PAOK Salonika a suspended one-year ban from European competition on Tuesday after the Greek side’s fans invaded the pitch during a Europa League playoff tie against Rapid Vienna last week.

The European soccer body’s control and disciplinary panel have accepted the recommendation of Greece’s sports prosecutor, which also included a punishment of playing three matches behind closed doors and a fine of 150,000 euros.

The one-year ban is suspended for three-years and allows PAOK to continue playing in this season’s Europa League but the side will be suspended immediately, should any similar incidents occur within that timeframe.

The punishment also means that should it qualify for the group stages of the competition, PAOK will play its three home matches behind closed doors.

PAOK won the playoff round first-leg tie 2-1 last Thursday, ahead of this week’s return fixture, but the victory was soured by clashes between rival fans before the match kicked off.

Several skirmishes ensued after dozens of PAOK supporters spilled onto the pitch at the Toumba Stadium in response to having flares thrown at them by Rapid fans.

PAOK spokesman Kiriakos Kiriakos told Reuters that the club intended to exercise its right to appeal the decision in the coming days.

[Reuters]