PAOK president Ivan Savvidis has apologised for storming the field while armed with a gun during Sunday's match against AEK Athens at the weekend – an incident that led to the Greek Superleague being suspended indefinitely by the country's government.
Savvidis invaded the pitch along with members of his security detail after PAOK's Fernando Varela had what he thought was an 89th-minute winner rule out for offside.
The Georgian-born tobacco and media tycoon was wearing a pistol in a holster on his hip, although he did not brandish it in the ensuing furore that saw AEK players leave the field before the match was abandoned at 0-0.
Greece's Deputy Minister of Sport George Vassiliadis announced on Monday that the country's top flight was "on an indefinite interruption", pending proposals from the Superleague and the Greek Football Federation (HFF).
In a statement on PAOK's official website, Savvidis offered a lengthy apology, albeit one peppered with references to what he believes to be a "totally ill soccer establishment" in his adopted country.
"I want to apologise to all the fans of PAOK, all Greek fans, the global football community. I am very sorry for what happened. Clearly I did not have the right to go out on the pitch in this way," Savvidis said.
"My emotional reaction has been caused by the generalised negative situation prevailing in Greek football lately and by all the unacceptable, non-athletic events that took place towards the end of the PAOK-AEK - the actions of the referee and the supervisor (goal - offside - goal), the interruption of the match, the protests and the entry into the playing field of dozens of people of both teams."
Savvidis went on to claim his intention was to protect PAOK fans and made further allusions towards football in Greece being systematically unfair.
"All of this created a degraded situation on the pitch and my only goal was to protect tens of thousands of PAOK fans from provocations - complications - human casualties," he added.
"Believe me, I had no intention of interference with the opposing team or the referees. And I certainly did not threaten anyone.
"Unfortunately, both me and my family, as well as my colleagues, have been hostages of the totally ill soccer establishment.
"I am struggling and will continue to strive, despite the constant attacks I take at all levels, for a fair football with honest arbitration in all the races and for winning the championships on the courts rather than in the courts.
"Once again, I apologise."
Despite Savvidis' apology, the European Club Association – the UEFA-recognised body representing the interests of professional clubs across the continent - has moved to suspend PAOK's membership on account of his actions.
In a statement, the ECA said it "strongly condemns" Savvidis' behaviour and added: "In light of this, and in accordance with the ECA Statutes, the ECA Executive Board unanimously decided to suspend, with immediate effect, PAOK FC as member of the European Club Association.
"ECA exists to protect the integrity and regularity of competitions and matches as well as the sporting values and principles on which European football is based."
The suspension will be reported to the ECA general assembly in Roma on March 27.
Controversy has marred Greek football over recent years.
Games were suspended in all divisions after referee's chief Giorgos Bikas was the victim of an arson attack in November 2016, while investigations into a match-fixing scandal that came to light in 2011 remain ongoing.
Two weeks ago, PAOK's home game with Olympiacos was abandoned before kick-off when visiting coach Oscar Garcia was struck by an object thrown from the stands. PAOK were initially docked three points but overturned the decision on appeal.
23 de marzo 2018
|Raza apologises for Zimbabwe´s World Cup woe|
|Real Madrid can win the Champions League, Roberto Carlos claims|
|Martinez determined to earn World Cup place|
|Horner and Arrivabene clash over Ferrari´s recruitment from FIA|
|Williamson notches record ton but rain frustrates New Zealand|
|Arthur ´counting the days´ to Barcelona switch|
|English football must address racism, says Southgate|
|Alisson can be world´s best – Taffarel|
|Rockets need OT to beat Pistons, Hornets record sixth biggest win|
|Hamilton contract to be finalised ´soon´, says Wolff|
|Warriors star Curry ´definitely´ wants ownership stake in Panthers|
|Kings´ Kopitar tallies first four-goal game|
|Ter Stegen dismisses ´Messi with gloves´ label|
|Medvedev fumes after win, Shapovalov battles through|
|Buffon: Messi more complete than Ronaldo|
|Neymar is irreplaceable, says Tite|
|Halep joined by Pliskova and Kerber on mixed day for seeds in Miami|
|Rahm joins Johnson in early elimination, McIlroy hits back|
|Red Wings´ Green to undergo cervical spine surgery|
|Conti: Milan much better thanks to Gattuso|
|Show must go on in Hollywood! - Pogba and Mkhitaryan say Ibrahimovic goodbyes|
|Arthur: I´ll find out if Messi is from this planet|
|Barcelona better than Real Madrid even if Neymar signs - Iniesta|
|I haven´t booked a holiday yet - Leno hoping for World Cup call|
|I may be 40 but I´m still Juve´s number one – Buffon bullish over Italy return|
22 de marzo 2018
|Italy coach Di Biagio dismisses Raiola rage over Balotelli snub|
|Lopetegui not ruling out Martinez World Cup chances|
|Late Widnes rally sees off Salford|
|Ailing Halep battles past Dodin in Miami|
|Spain defender Ramos targeting Casillas caps record|
|Pogba gets no special treatment from Deschamps|
|Defending champion Johnson dumped out of WGC Dell Match Play|
|Ibrahimovic to LA Galaxy? Beckham, Drogba, Pirlo and the other stars to try MLS|
|Wilshere out for England with Pickford to face Netherlands|
|Southgate rejects England safety concerns over World Cup|
|Great things come to an end - Ibrahimovic confirms Man Utd departure|
|This is Messi´s team - Sampaoli puts faith in Barcelona superstar|
|Tony Romo plays rollercoaster first round in PGA Tour debut|
|Total embarrassment: Hussain and Willis slam England following Auckland humiliation|
|Elgar urges South Africa to ´brush off´ disappointment of collapse|
|Juventus to play in MLS All-Star Game|
|Low confirms Can will miss Spain game|
|Tiger´s Masters timeline: Can Woods rediscover his best Augusta form?|
|Morgan to captain World XI for T20 hurricane fundraiser|
|Ibrahimovic released by Manchester United|
|Santos not interested in Ronaldo to China links|
|French Open prize money up to €2.2m for singles champions|
|WATCH: Messi scores superb solo strike in Argentina training|
|Zimbabwe´s World Cup hopes all but over after UAE loss|
|Koeman names Van Dijk new Netherlands captain|
|Dybala and Icardi´s World Cup hopes doused by Sampaoli|
|Pierre-Paul joins revamped Bucs pass rush in trade|
|I almost s*** myself - Pique on Keane rant|
|UEFA order PSG to close Auteuil stand|
|Cummins puts Australia in control as South Africa collapse after tea|
|Surgery on both elbows for ´different animal´ Parker|
|Director of rugby Kennedy leaves London Irish|
|Brilliant Bale basks in Wales record|
|Romo hits back-to-back birdies on PGA Tour debut|
|Neuer needs to play to make Germany´s World Cup squad – Low|
|All we can do is take it on the chin - Bayliss responds to Auckland humiliation|
|China 0 Wales 6: Record-breaking Bale leads demolition job in perfect start for Giggs|
|Curry closer to return than Durant - Kerr|
|Alonso expects McLaren to be at ´lowest level´ in Melbourne|
|Serena´s conqueror and a new tennis superstar - who is Naomi Osaka?|
|Bale becomes Wales´ record goalscorer with China hat-trick|
|Hamilton warns Ricciardo not to rock Red Bull boat|
|It could have been worse! England´s lowest Test totals|
|The ´reality for people with a brain´ is Manchester United are in transition, Mourinho claims|
|Black Caps seamer savours Boult from the blue|