Statement by Ivan Savvidis
PAOK FC President Ivan Savvidis made the following statement on paokfc.gr, regarding the team’s absence from the Greek Cup semi-final second leg.
«I hereby address the whole football community and, above all, the family of PAOK, in order to clarify yet again the stance of the club’s administration regarding the participation of the team in the Greek Cup semi-final second leg.
PAOK FC have decided to forfeit today’s game in Karaiskakis Stadium. Believe me, this decision was far from easy. Our decision not to participate, following the unprecedented lawlessness in Toumba Stadium two months ago, kick-started the cleansing procedure in Greek football. I am glad that PAOK played a leading role in this movement.
During these two months, we analyzed the situation, consulted, studied the legal aspect of the issue and the opinions among the family of PAOK, while assessing the severity of the sanctions for the club. There were also different opinions expressed, that we should compete in the second leg against Olympiacos for instance.
But, believe me, the decision taken is the only possible and honest one.
Greek football is undergoing an acute crisis – the healthy parties are fighting against a well -organized corrupt system. Everyday we are welcoming more supporters of clean football in our ranks. Today we need to unite our efforts and prove that the need to protect our country’s sporting honour, justice and decency stands above the interests of a single club.
This struggle calls for sacrifices and PAOK are ready to step forward. I beg for the forgiveness of both sets of supporters and football lovers, as they were deprived of an exciting derby today. But I will not step back and will continue on a path chosen after mature and careful consideration. Back in time, such principles, that have guided me in my life, brought our nation to the walls of Sumela monastery…
I believe in the power of PAOK. I believe that our great family has considerable patience and persistence to achieve our objectives. I believe that Greek football will eventually prevail in this fair struggle. We didn’t yield under difficult circumstances and we continue looking into each other’s eyes with pride.
Addressing the football people who have tainted their honour, I can only add: Leave. Only your immediate resignation can salvage your decency»!