Abandonment the latest in a line of violent episodes to have convulsed Greek football.

TAGS:

Greece’s deputy minister for sport Stavros Kontonis has recommended the suspension of all competitive football in the country, after crowd violence caused the first leg of the Greek Cup semi-final between PAOK Salonika and Olympiakos Piraeus to be abandoned.

The Greek Football Federation (EPO) condemned crowd violence which erupted after a penalty was denied to PAOK in Wednesday night’s game.

Government and football authorities will meet later on Thursday to determine whether to suspend football.

Hundreds of angry fans stormed the pitch and fought running battles with riot police in the closing minutes at the Toumba stadium in Salonika.

After the match, PAOK owner Ivan Savvidis then withdrew his team from the cup.

“EPO condemns in the strongest possible way the extreme and unjustified, violent reactions which occurred before, during and after the cup match between PAOK and Olympiakos,” it said.

In an apparent reference to the multiple political and economic crises now affecting Greece, the EPO statement said it would “not allow football to be involved in games and goals that go beyond the controversies on the pitch and be burdened with the problems of an entire society.”

With Super League champions Olympiakos leading 2-1 in the 86th minute at a hostile Toumba stadium, PAOK were denied what looked like a clear penalty when Slovakia midfielder Robert Mak was brought down by visiting keeper Stefano Kampino.

The decision to not award a penaly enraged the home fans, hundreds of whom invaded the pitch, hurling flares and missiles before being dispersed by riot police.

It was the second time in Greece this season that a match has been stopped. The Athens derby last November involving Panathinaikos and Olympiakos was called off due to violent clashes between fans and police before kick-off.

Greek football has a long history of crowd trouble with the government taking the drastic step last season of suspending all football as a result of the ongoing violence.