FIFA delegation heading to Athens for pitch violence talks


Athens (AFP) – World football body FIFA on Tuesday informed Greek deputy minister of sport Yiorgos Vassiliadis that a delegation is heading to Athens in order to hold talks on the recent spell of violence at football grounds.

FIFA Director of European Member Associations Bjorn Vassallo informed Vassiliadis in a letter that the delegation would be leaving later Tuesday “to hold talks with the respective stakeholders on the actions going forward.”

Vassiliadis had sent on Monday a letter to Vassalo to inform him about the Greek government’s indefinite suspension of the championship following an incident involving the president of club PAOK storming onto the pitch with a holstered gun tucked in his belt.

“FIFA is in constant contact with UEFA (European football body), closely following the development of the situation in Greece since the incidents which took place on Sunday evening in Thessaloniki,” Vassallo wrote.

He added that FIFA demands “an uncompromising and robust approach in exterminating all forms of violent acts in football.”

In his letter Vassiliadis admitted that Greek football is “undergoing hectic times during the last few games.”

“During the past year we made a huge progress together in order to establish new rules regarding transparency, accountability and severe punishments,” Vassiliadis said.

Meanwhile, on Tuesday the Thessaloniki prosecutor’s office has ordered an urgent preliminary examination to the sports prosecutor about latest incident involving PAOK boss Ivan Savvidis.

Savvidis earlier on Tuesday apologised for his actions.

Flanked by bodyguards, he stormed onto the field in the 90th minute on Sunday after a goal that would have won the top-of-the-table clash was disallowed for offside.

PAOK and AEK are in a neck-and-neck race for the Super League title, which would be the first for either team for more than two decades.

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