'Bold decisions' needed in wake of PAOK-AEK unrest

PAOK owner Ivan Savvidis stormed the pitch after a goal was disallowed against AEK Athens, leading to calls for "bold decisions".

PAOK's Toumba Stadium   -  Getty Images

Bold decisions must be made in the wake of the PAOK owner storming the pitch appearing to carry a gun in his pocket during their clash with AEK Athens, according to Greece's deputy culture and sports minister Georgios Vassiliadis.

Sunday's clash between the title rivals looked to have been settled when PAOK, five points behind Greek Super League leaders AEK in third, found the net in the 89th minute.

However, following the protestations of AEK players, the goal was chalked off by referee Giorgios Kominis.

That sparked angry scenes in the stands and numerous people entered the pitch, including PAOK owner Ivan Savvidis and his security team.

Savvidis, who appeared to usher his players off the pitch, confronted Kominis and was then led away by his security.

He then had to be restrained as he appeared to aim some angry words towards one of the match officials.

The match was postponed after the referee went down the tunnel.

Although the officials re-emerged later, PAOK claimed on Twitter the game "was finally halted with the score 1-0" in favour of the home side, despite the late goal initially seeming to be disallowed.

"Images of 'persons entering sports grounds armed' harm PAOK and football in general," Vassiliadis wrote in a statement.

"Such extreme phenomena call for bold decisions.

"We will not allow anybody to deter us from this path, even if tough decisions are required in consultation with UEFA."

It is the second time in less than two months that PAOK's Toumba Stadium has been the setting of disturbances.

Earlier in the day, PAOK had a stadium ban and a three-point deduction revoked following an incident against Olympiacos on February 25, trimming their deficit to leaders AEK to two points.

Olympiacos coach Oscar Garcia had been hit on the head by a roll of paper thrown from the stands, with his injury requiring a trip to hospital.

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