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Russian Football Boss Runs Onto Field With Gun, Threatens Referee

Ivan Savvidis YouTube

The Russian owner of a Greek football club stormed onto the field with a gun at his side to dispute a referee’s decision during a contentious game over the weekend.

PAOK FC owner Ivan Savvidis was filmed running onto the pitch in Greece’s second-largest city of Thessaloniki on Sunday after the referee canceled a last-minute goal against PAOK’s first-place rivals AEK Athens. During the altercation that eventually ended in PAOK’s 1-0 victory, Savvidis was reportedly heard yelling “you are a dead man” at the referee, Giorgos Kominis.

Savvidis, a Russian citizen and an ex-deputy in the State Duma from the ruling United Russia party, said in a statement on Sunday that he would continue to do everything in his power “to protect PAOK’s legitimate interests.”

The referee reportedly awarded PAOK the victory two hours after withdrawing from the field following the threats on Sunday.

Greek sports media later reported that AEK planned to file complaints over Savvidis’ behavior with Greek authorities and the football governing bodies FIFA and UEFA. 

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