Athens: The president of Greek club PAOK today apologised after storming onto the pitch with a holstered gun tucked in his belt, an incident that prompted the indefinite suspension of the championship.
“I am very sorry over what happened. I clearly had no right to enter the field of play in this fashion,” Ivan Savvidis said in a statement.
Savvidis, a Greek-Russian businessman with extensive holdings in Greece and rumoured to be close to the government of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, has been on the run since an arrest was issued for his arrest on Monday.
He denied claims that he bickered with the referee and an official from the opponents, AEK Athens, and claimed his foray onto the pitch at PAOK’s Toumba stadium was aimed at preventing violence from breaking out.
“My only aim was to protect tens of thousands of PAOK fans from provocation, clashes, human victims,” he said.
The 58-year-old tobacco industrialist, a former lawmaker with the party of Russian president Vladimir Putin,…