Greek league sus­pended af­ter team owner steps in with gun

DNA (Daily News & Analysis) Mumbai Edition - - FRONT PAGE -

Greece’s top-flight foot­ball cham­pi­onship was sus­pended in­def­i­nitely on Mon­day, a min­is­ter said, hours af­ter the owner of the PAOK team in­vaded the pitch with a gun strapped to his belt.

Greek Prime Min­is­ter Alexis Tsipras said he was “de­ter­mined” to en­force or­der in the coun­try’s oft-chaotic lead­ing sport, which has re­peat­edly been marred by vi­o­lence on and off the pitch. “We must all de­cide to ig­nore the po­lit­i­cal cost... It’s a ques­tion of will. Per­son­ally, I am de­ter­mined to go ahead,” Tsipras said ahead of a meet­ing with a ri­val party leader.

His deputy min­is­ter for sport, Yior­gos Vas­sil­iadis, was in close con­tact with Euro­pean foot­ball body UEFA, which he said had been “shocked” by the in­ci­dent.

Po­lice have is­sued a war­rant for the ar­rest of PAOK owner, Greek-Rus­sian busi­ness­man Ivan Sav­vidis, af­ter he stormed the pitch on Sun­day, ac­com­pa­nied by body­guards, to con­front the ref- eree in protest at a 90th-minute dis­al­lowed goal in a topof-the-ta­ble clash against AEK Athens. PAOK sports di­rec­tor Lu­bos Michel, a Slo­vak for­mer FIFA ref­eree, is also be­lieved to have threat­ened ref­eree.

—REUTERS

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