Greek football to resume Saturday – officials

Athens (AFP) – Greece’s top-flight football will resume on Saturday after being suspended for nearly three weeks after a pistol-wearing club owner challenged a referee, officials told Greek media on Monday.

The league was suspended on March 12 after the owner of the PAOK team marched onto the pitch during a match accompanied by burly minders with a gun strapped to his belt.

The ban was lifted after clubs agreed to a list of government demands, including point deductions and potential relegation for violence, reports said.

Greek-Russian businessman Ivan Savvidis was ostensibly protesting against a goal deemed offside that would have decided a top-of-the-table clash between his outfit and AEK Athens.

Greek football has been plagued by violence and match-fixing, but the latest incident prompted world football body FIFA to warn that Greek clubs faced exclusion from international competition unless authorities took rapid action.

Government spokesman Dimitris Tzanakopoulos said the outburst by Savvidis, who is considered a close ally of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, was “the last straw” in “long list of violence and extremely offensive behaviour” in Greek football.

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